Mike Hughes

Best-bets for Nov. 22: Dramas like Thanksgiving, too

1) “Dynasty,” 9 p.m., CW. Comedies love Thanksgiving, but some dramas also get a crack at it. Now Blake Carrington (Grant Show, shown here) – facing criminal charges – realizes this could be his last chance for a family Thanksgiving. First, he wants Cristal and Adam to quit bickering. Also, Dominique is being pushed to disclose important information … and she’s pushing Monica to work with her new singer. Read more…

“Chaperone” brings a tad of “Downton” prestige

“The Chaperone” reaches PBS Sunday, delivering a tad of “Downton Abbey” prestige. It arrives much later than expected.
Back in 2013, plans were announced for the movie. Based on a novel, it would have a script by “Downton” creator Julian Fellowes; Elizabeth McGovern (Cora in “Downton”) would star, with her husband Simon Curtis (“Cranford”) directing.
And then – like so many indie projects – it lingered. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 21: It’s widower-comedy night

1) “The Unicorn,” 8:30 p.m., CBS. For half an episode, this is standard-sitcom stuff. Trying to reboot his life, a year-plus after his wife’s death, Wade (Walton Goggins) hosts the Thanksgiving dinner. There’s a turkey problem, a mumbly teen-ager and a football zealot, plus disputes over coffee and place-settings. It’s moderately funny and sort of adequate. Then, in the final minutes, we’re reminded that Goggins (shown here in a previous episode) was a terrific drama actor, long before doing comedy. It becomes a terrific episode. Read more…

Flash and frenzy: Here’s a Christmas-TV mega-list

It’s almost time for Christmas to take over our TV sets.
That starts at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, as the parade begins. It continues for four flashy weeks.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a mega-list of Christmas show, beginning Nov. 28. We’ll do them by category, starting (logically) with parades:
Nov. 28: “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” 9 a.m. to noon, NBC and CBS. The parade (shown here from a previous year) has 11 bands, 1,200 cheerleaders and dancers and 1,000 clowns, plus balloons and 26 floats – many with performers, including Celine Dion, Chicago, Ciara, Black Eyed Peas, Lea Michele, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel. The networks also bring in separate performers, usually in the first hour Read more…

Ludwin: the “kind” guy who saved “Seinfeld”

As “Weekend Update” ended on “Saturday Night Live,” this memorial photo of Rick Ludwin was shown.
That must have confused viewers. Who, exactly, was Rick Ludwin? And why didn’t he look like the sort of people – musicians and actors and such – that “SNL” usually memorializes?
Ludwin was an NBC executive for 32 years, including key decades as head of latenight and variety shows. He left in 2012, after a falling-out with Jay Leno, and died of organ failure on Nov. 10 at 71.
He was the one permanent force at a network that kept changing. He was, after all, the guy who had saved “Seinfeld.” Read more…

Best-bets for Nov.19: Agony in Syria and at home

1) “Frontline: For Sama,” 10-11:30 p.m., PBS. As Russian bombers destroyed the Syrian city of Aleppo, a young journalist sent reports over the internet. She married the doctor who led a makeshift hospital; years later, they pondered taking their baby to safety. Eventually, Waad Al-Khateeb (shown here) took her films and linked with a British director, weaving a five-year story that has it all – love, death, youthful idealism, war-weary pain, lifesaving and lives lost. The result is simultaneously painful and bracing. Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 18: Dancers, singers and (really) a poet

1) “Dancing With the Stars,” 8-10 p.m., ABC. We’re just a week from the finale now. Last week, Sean Spicer, the former presidential press secretary, was ousted. He finished sixth … which puts him well ahead of how civilians (politicians, businessfolk, etc.) usually do. Remaining are actors James Van Der Beek and Kel Mitchell, singers Lauren Alaina and Ally Brook and “bachelorette” Hannah Brown (shown here with pro partner Alan Bersten). Read more…

Best-bets for Nov. 17: “Poldark” ends, “Crown” and “Donovan” start

1) “Masterpiece: Poldark” finale, 9 p.m., PBS. For five seasons we’ve seen Ross Poldark (Aidan Turner, shown here) try to pierce layers of corruption in England’s ruling class. Last week (rerunning at 8 p.m.), he found his ore had been stolen and traded for weapons, stockpiled for a French invasion. Officials still did nothing, so now he tries a makeshift effort as a double agent. The result is wildly unbelievable; villains here seem incapable of finishing off anyone. Still, it’s an emotional end to a lush and epic story. Read more…