Month: January 2022

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…

Best-bets for Jan. 26: A sci-fi gem returns

1) “Resident Alien” season-opener, 9 p.m., Syfy. This wonderfully weird show mixes solid drama, zesty sci-fi and an abundance of humor. An alien killed Dr. Harry, took over his body and prepared to kill all humans. There were technical woes and he tried to return home, but Max (shown here with him) stowed away and they crashed. Now “Harry” has a concussion and starts babbling the truth – which, of course, everyone ignores. He also think he’s a TV cop. The few humans who know his secret try to help him, with amusing results. Read more…

PBS keeps filling the music gaps

For decades, PBS has had an extra duty: It’s the main link many people have to what’s happening on Broadway and in concert halls, opera houses and more.
But lately, there’s been an added role: It’s been giving us what’s NOT happening there.
As the pandemic shut most things down, PBS kept going. It had music on rooftops, on porches, in vacant rooms and now – quite carefully – in standard concert settings.
That’s led by Luke Frazier and his American Pops Orchestra, who has rushed a dozen concerts, ranging from slim half-hours to an ambitious “Wicked” concert (shown here with Ariana Grande). Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 25: Messy romances in fiction and fact

1) “Our Kind of People” (shown here) finale, 9 p.m., Fox. Officially, this is just the season-finale, but don’t expect it to return. Ratings have been weak and Fox didn’t order the second half of the season. The good news is that this mostly works well as a series finale; questions are answered, evil is punished, romance messes are bsettled. The bad news is that the final minute thrusts everything into permanent limbo. That’s typical of a show that kept making brash and soapy choices. Read more…

It’s an alien world of wit, weirdness and a talking octopus

It’s probably safe to assume the people of Ladysmith are sane souls, living normal lives. They are, after all, Canadian.
So they may not get many sights like this: “Running down the streets of Ladysmith with an octopus was fun to do,” Alan Tudyk told the Television Critics Association. “I think it was popular with the local residents as well.”
We should probably explain that this was a talking octopus in “Resident Alien” (9 p.m. Wednesdays on Syfy, with the second season starting Jan. 26). We should also explain that Tudyk (shown here) plays an alien who came to Earth, killed a doctor and took his human form. He’s supposed to kill all Earthlings, but …
Well, the show requires a lot of explaining. Suffice it to say that it made sense for Tudyk to run through downtown Ladysmith (a Vancouver Island town of 8,500) with a talking octopus, Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 24: “Promised,” “‘Piercer,” Playboy

1) “Promised Land” (shown here) debut, 10 p.m., ABC. Amid the sprawling beauty of Sonoma Valley, the haves and have-nots scheme. The Sandovals have a vineyard and a winery; Carlos Rincon has just entered the country with his sisters. John Ortiz stars as the patriarch; better known are Bellamy Young as his antagonist and Christina Ochoa as Veronica. Ochoa starred in “Blood Drive” and “Valor,” then was Renn in “Animal Kingdom” and the secretive secretary in “A Million Little Things.” Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 23: Football takes us to “Hawaii”

1) Football, 3 p.m. ET, NBC and 6:30, CBS. The Tampa Bay Bucs host the Los Angeles Rams; then the Kansas City Chiefs host the Buffalo Bills. The opener offers two veteran quarterbacks: Last week, the Rams’ Matthew Stafford (shown here) got his first playoff win … and the Bucs’ Tom Brady, who has seven Super Bowl wins, got his 35th. In 2009, Stafford was the first person drafted; nine years earlier, Brady was the 199th. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Jan. 24: debuts and a great “Alien” return

1) “Resident Alien” season-opener, 9 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy. Here is one of TV’s best shows, rippling with wit and weirdness. It hasn’t received the attention and awards it deserves, but you can catch up via Hulu or Peacock or more. Or just start with this brilliant episode. An alien killed Dr. Harry, took over his body (shown here) and prepared to kill all humans. There were technical woes, so he tried to return home. Then there was a stowaway and a crash. Now he has a concussion and babbles the truth … which is ignored. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 22: Forte, films, football

1) “Saturday Night Live,”  11:29 p.m., NBC. A decade after leaving “Saturday Night Live,” Will Forte finally returns as host. That fits neatly with the fact he’s now doing “MacGruber” (shown here) – originally an “SNL” character, then a failed movie, now a series – on Peacock. Forte did eight years on “SNL,” then had his own “Last Man on Earth” series for three years. He’s been busy with voice work and had a serious turn in “Nebraska.” Tonight’s music guest is Maneskin. Read more…

PBS diversifies — from Harriet to hip hop

PBS – once considered mostly a cozy place for classical music, British dramas and French cooking – is broadening its scope.
Paula Kerger, the network CEO, has announced projects for this fall, ranging from Harriet Tubman to Chuck D (shown here) and hip hop history. She also announced long-range efforts that, she said, “will elevate new voices … and amplify diverse perspectives.” Read more…