Month: August 2022

At 16, she’s a star, a scriptwriter … and a really bad seed

As the pandemic dragged on, teens found themselves with empty time.
Some played videogames, did charity work or robbed liquor stores. One sat down with an orthopedic surgeon and wrote “The Bad Seed Returns,” which debuts at 8 p.m. Monday (Sept. 5) on Lifetime.
It helped, perhaps, that the teen (McKenna Grace, 16, shown here) had already starred in “Bad Seed.” And that the surgeon is her father. Still, producer Mark Wolper said, this all came as a surprise:
“A script appears … and I’m like, ‘Oh no, a script from them. It’s gonna be terrible! What am I gonna say to them? … And then I just started reading this script and I couldn’t put it down. I sent it to Lifetime within 10 minutes of finishing reading it.” Read more…

Elvis lives anew (on HBO)

“Elvis,” the movie, is back with us. Elvis, the memory, never went away.
Baz Luhrman’s film (shown here) has a few flaws, plus lots of strengths. It was praised by the majority of critics (including me) and has topped $277 million worldwide at the box office.
Now it reaches HBO, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 3). With that in mind, I’m rerunning my review; here it is: Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 2: parks series ends (explosively), football begins

1) “America’s National Parks” finale, 9 p.m., National Geographic, rerunning at midnight. A splendid series (also on Disney+) concludes with its most spectacular hour. The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (shown here) includes one volcano that erupted for 35 years; when it stopped, in 2018, it had buried a road under 100 feet of lava. The park also has 500-year-old carvings, 1,000-year-old trees and unique species, from larva-seeking beetles to a curved-beak woodpecker. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 1: powerful rings and/or tackles

1) “The Rings of Power” (shown here), any time, Amazon Prime. The mega-prequels era is now in place. “House of the Dragon,” HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel, arrived Aug. 21 as the most expensive TV project ever; now Amazon has one that’s even larger. It cost a reported $465 million for the first season’s eight episodes. Over five seasons (at least), we’ll see epic struggles that were filmed in New Zealand, often using elaborate sets in addition to special effects. Read more…

“Rings” prequel arrives, spanning worlds

The impact of “The Lord of the Rings” seems to span generations and continents.
Just ask Ismael Cruz Cordova, one of the stars of “The Rings of Power,” the mega-prequel that starts Thursday (Sept. 1) on Amazon Prime.
“I grew up in Puerto Rico, in houses with mud floors,” he told the Television Critics Association, “and experienced so many hardships in my life …. I saved all my money to buy my first DVD, ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ I felt myself in there. I felt the spiritual and emotional connection.”
His own background is far removed from that of the “Rings” creator: J.R.R. Tolkien was mostly home-schooled in rural England by his mother, until her death when he was 12. He went to prep schools, graduated from Oxford and later taught there. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 31: fantasy and reality share the night

1) “Stargirl” season-opener, 8 p.m., CW. While others pause, CW has an above-average show to bridge the late-summer/early-fall lull. “Stargirl” skips all the reluctant-hero cliches; Courtney (shown here in the new-season poster) is a teen who’s delighted to discover her superpowers. Two skilled pros help – Joel McHale as Starman, back from the dead, and Luke Wilson as Courtney’s dad and sidekick. Now The Gambler is back, drawing suspicion. Read more…

Here’s an end-of-summer tour of parks beauty

As the summer concludes, we realize we failed (again) to see all the national parks.
Hey, that happens. There are 63 of them, from the Mexican border to the edge of Alaska, plus American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands; there are also 360 other spots that the Park Service supervises.
Now cable and streaming help us catch up, with a five-day, nine-hour series that’s beautifully filmed. “America’s National Parks” runs all week on the National Geographic Channel, from the Everglades and the Grand Canyon (shown here) Monday, Aug. 29, to Hawaiian volcanoes Friday. It also reaches Disney+ on Aug. 31. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 29: crocs, warriors & romance

1) “America’s National Parks,” 8 and 9 p.m., National Geographic Channel; rerunning at midnight and 1 a.m. We start in the Everglades, the only place in the world to have both alligators and crocodiles. (Yes, we’re told, that’s a good thing.) Then it’s on to the Grand Canyon (shown here) – 277 miles long, with life ranging from elk to soaring condor. This is the start of a five-night, nine-hour series, narrated by Garth Brooks, with gorgeous visions of semi-wild worlds. Read more…

It’s a new way to turn therapy into intense drama

For anyone pondering the human condition, this can be the mother lode – the point where a therapist and a patient link.
“Therapy frees you to actually explore feelings in an overt way,” said writer-producer Joe Weisberg.
Now he and Joel Fields have found a fresh way to blend quiet therapy and intense crime.: “The Patient” (shown here with Steve Carell) debuts with two episodes Tuesday (Aug. 30) on Hulu, then continues for eight more weeks. Read more…