Month: January 2023

Good news: quietly clever “Bob” has been renewed

One of TV’s best shows has just been renewed for next season.
And no, it’s not one that grabs awards or lands on 10-best lists. It’s “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,” the quiet gem that airs at 8:30 p.m. Mondays on CBS.
The network had already renewed its other comedies, two good ones (“Young Sheldon” and “Ghosts”) and “The Neighborhood.” Now it adds “Bob,” a quiet success. In its fourth season, it’s been averaging six million viewers, sometimes sliping into the top 10. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 27: skaters, rappers and movies

1) Figure skating, 8-10 p.m., NBC. As always, the female skaters (shown here) dominate TV’s attention. They had their short programs Thursday on the USA Network and now move to NBC for the finals. Meanwhile, the men have their short programs from 5-7 p.m. today on USA, with the finals from 3-6 p.m. Sunday on NBC. Other finals are Saturday — free dance, 2-4:30 p.m., NBC; pairs, 8-10 p.m., USA. Read more…

A grown-up genre: Hip hop turns 50

At first, hip hop was considered a passing fancy.
It was free and fun and outdoors. It was what New York needed in the 1070s.
And then it became much more, “Hip hop is entering its so-called 50th-year anniversary … Its history and story is very deep,” said Chuck D (shown here), the Public Enemy rapper.
He linked with PBS and the BBC to produce “Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World.” It debuts at 9 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 31) on PBS, skips a week because of the State of the Union speech, then has one hour on Feb. 14 and two on Feb. 21. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 26: Lyonne leads a big streamer stretch

1) “Poker Face” debut, Peacock. Rian Johnson, writer-director of the “Knives Out” gems, links with Natasha Lyonne for a superb series. She’s terrific as Charlie, with an innate sense of when people are lying. In the opener (shown here), she’s living in a Las Vegas trailer, when casino boss (Adrien Brody) tries to harness that skill; she’s soon on the run, solving self-contained mysteries slong the way. Except for one flaw – scenes that flash back a few days, without telling viewers – this is a fresh and entertaining show. Read more…

She gives us a fresh take on “lone wolf” saga

As “Poker Face” unfolds, we meet a familiar character – rootless, homeless, on the move.
“Life as a lone wolf has always been tricky,” said Natasha Lyonne (shown here), who stars as Charlie in the show (debuting Thursday, Jan. 26, on Peacock) from “Knives Out” creator Rian Johnson
That’s been true in her own life. Lyonne has described being on her own since she was 16, with a rich assortment of ups (“Russian Doll,” “Orange is the New Black”) and downs.
And it’s true on TV. Viewers savor shows – “The Fugitive,” “Then Came Bronson,” “Run For Your Life,” “Have Gun, Will Travel” – that keep lone figures on the move. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 25: A fine night for crabs and villains

1) “Nature,” 8 p.m., PBS. Underwater life is filled with communal efforts; now we see some examples, beautifully filmed. A carrier crab (show here while carrying) gives rides to a fire urchin – which provides protection with its venom … Shrimps keep eels tidy; surgeonfish remove algae fron turtles … Golden jacks hang around dugongs, grabbing any shrimps they stir up … Some creatures even go in the mouths of others, for clean-up work. It’s a fascinating world. Read more…

Here’s the opposite of the dim/hairy news

Back in 1975, newsman Charles Kuralt chastised TV stations for “hiring hair, not brains.”
A typical anchorman, he said, has great hair and an empty mind. He “wouldn’t know a news story if it jumped up and mussed his coiffure.”
And now – a mere 48 years later – we have the exact opposite. Geoff Bennett – half of the new “PBS NewsHour” anchor team with Amna
Nawaz (they’re shown here) – has no hair and a sharp, journalistic brain. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 24: comedies, courtroom and Flack

1) “American Auto” season-opener, 8:30 p.m., NBC. Once again, there’s a defect in one of the Payne cars; this one has disastrous consequences – including a forest fire. Katherine (Ana Gasteyer, shown here in a previous episode), the boss, worries about her job … Wesley, the heir, worries about having to sell his boat … and Sadie flubs a press conference. It’s a funny episode, with a surprising conclusion. Read more…

Back from sunny (?!?) Hollywood

“The sun will come out tomorrow.”
— Annie, a delusional optimist

“It never rains in California?
But girl, don’t they warn ya?
It pours, man, it pours”
— Albert Hammond; also, Sonny and Cher, Mamas and Papas and others, all realists

A dandy TV tradition finally returned, after a three-year absence.
Twice a year, the Television Critics Association used to gather in Hollywood. For two weeks, critics talked to stars and others. They filled their notebooks with quotes and their bodies with food and drink. Read more…

Best-bets for Jan. 23: “Bachelor” is back; so are others

1) “The Bachelor” opener, 8-10 p.m., ABC. After a third-place “Bachelorette” finish, Zach Shallcross (shown here) is in control. He’s a former tech executive, 6-foot-4 and 26 years old; now he meets 30 women, including a child therapist named Charity and an Oklahoma rodeo racer named Brooklyn. There are sales people and marketers, of course; there are also serious sorts, including four nurses and a nursing student. Read more…