Year: 2022

Comer leads Liverpool’s compelling film

Maybe this should become a tradition: Once every 55-plus years, people from Liverpool make a terrific movie called “Help.”
The first was in 1965, by the Beatles; it’s a delight that someone could watch over and over.
And the second debuted on British TV in September and reaches an American streamer (www.acorn.tv) on Monday (Jan. 31). It’s brilliantly crafted … and difficult to watch even once.
This “Help” was filmed mostly in Liverpool. It projects that city’s working-class feel, with Liverpool natives as its stars – Stephen Graham, Ian Hart and, especially, Jodie Comer (shown here). Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 30: supersized players and singer

1) Football, 3 p.m. ET, CBS, and 6:30, Fox. Now we’ll learn who will be in the Super Bowl. First is a battle of young quarterbacks: The Chiefs (14-5) and Patrick Mahomes, 26, already have one Super Bowl win; they face Joe Burrow, 25, and the Bengals, hoping to continue their two-year leap from 2-14 to 12-7. Then the veterans take over. Jimmy Garoppolo, 30, and the 49ers (12-7), face the Rams (14-5) and Matthew Stafford (shown here), 33, who had never won a play-off game until this year. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Jan. 31: Olympics loom large

1) Olympics opening ceremony, 6:30 a.m. ET Friday, NBC, Peacock, Olympic Channel; then 8 p.m., NBC. In 2008, Beijing had a spectacular Summer Olympics ceremony (shown here), with 15,000 performers and a reported $100-million budget. Now it becomes the first city to host the summer and winter games. This ceremony has the same director, in the same building, but with a smaller scale. About 3,000 performers are expected, plus 2,900 athletes from 90 countries. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 29: from comedy to Gandhi

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. For the next three weekends, the Olympic will gobble up NBC. So we might as well savor tonight, wrapping up a string of three new “SNL” episodes. The host, Willem Dafoe, has rarely been thought of as a funny guy; he’s 66 and had never done the show until last week’s brief visit. The starpower comes from Katy Perry (shown here), with her fourth turn as music guest. Perry, who also hosted once, has a new “American Idol” season starting Feb. 27. Read more…

Fox unmasks its March makeover

TV viewers now have an answer to a frequent question: When will “The Masked Singer” return?
They also have the answer to a rarely asked question: When will there be a show about people toppling dominos?
Both will be March 9, as part of the Fox network’s spring makeover. That also puts the two “9-1-1” shows back together, returns some reality shows (“MasterChef Junior” and “Name That Tune”) and debuts a clever, offbeat comedy after “Call Me Kat.”
Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 28: Janet Jackson re-visits triumphs and troubles

1) ”Janet Jackson,” 8-10 p.m., Lifetime and A&E; concludes Saturday. Merely with her music career, Jackson (shown here) would merit a documentary. She’s sold 160 million records; in the U.S., she’s had seven No. 1 albums and 10 No. 1 singles; among women, only Madonna and Mariah Carey have more. She’s also an actress (with an Oscar nomination) and has had a complicated life. She discusses the deaths of Michael and her dad, plus the Super Bowl controversy, three marriages, giving birth at 50 and more. Read more…

She lives (and portrays) a complicated life

TV people seem to be realizing something that others – novelists, therapists, biographers – always knew:
One person can be many things, some of them opposites. “That dichotomy is really in all of us,” Christina Ochoa said.
That’s true of her character in “Promised Land” – a good woman who makes a bad choice in a crisis. It’s true of other characters in the show, at 10 p.m. Mondays on ABC. (The opener reruns at 10 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27; also, every episode is available on Hulu after airing.)
And it’s especially true of Ochoa (shown here), who often gets roles that match her look. Tall (5-8 ½) and fit, with raven hair and appealing face, she’s starred in “Valor” as a war-veteran helicopter pilot and in “Blood Drive” as a femme fatale race driver; she’s co-starred in “Animal Kingdom” as a cocaine dealer and in “A Million Little Things” as a secretive secretary. Read more…

CBS renews three comedies

In a year when laughs have been rare, here’s good news: CBS has renewed “Ghosts” (shown here), “The Neighborhood” and “Bob (Hearts) Abishola” for next season.
That follows the renewal of “Young Sheldon,” so there are only two CBS comedies to worry about – “The United States of Al” and “B Positive.” Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 27: positively a comedy night

1) “B Positive,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., CBS. The good news is that we get two episodes of this always-appealing show; the bad is that its future is unclear. “B Positive” will be bumped by a “Celebrity Big Brother” hour next week and by a new comedy (“How We Roll”) on March 31; the rest is pending. The first season introduced the delightful Annaleigh Ashford as Gina, who gave a kidney to a guy she barely knew. In the second, she inherited millions and bought a retirement home; she’s shown here with Linda Lavin, who plays one of the residents. Read more…

Busy times: from Honest Abe to Joe Exotic

You know life is promising when the news ranges from Abraham Lincon to Agatha Raisin, from Meat Loaf to Joe Exotic. All show up in recent announcements about TV; that includes:
— The “Tiger King” mini-series now has a starting date. The eight-hour film begins March 3 on Peacock, under the title “Joe vs. Carole.”
This is the scripted version of a true-life story originally told in a documentary that became a hit during stay-at-home stages, early in the pandemic. Kate McKinnon (shown here) of “Saturday Night Live” plays animal activist Carole Baskin, with John Cameron Mitchell as the self-named Joe Exotic, a private zookeeper eventually convicted of trying to hire someone to kill her. Read more…