Mike Hughes

Best-bets for Sept. 22: Finalists for “Talent” and presidency

1) “Frontline: The Choice,” 9-11 p.m., PBS. Even “America’s Got Talent” finalists (shown here)  can’t match the impact of the America’s-got-politics finalists. This is biography at its best, bouncing between the lives of Donald Trump and Joe Biden, and finding huge contrasts. Biden faced immense troubles, from boyhood stuttering to the death of his wife and two of his children; Trump was sent to military school, where he savored being in command. Biden made big mistakes, including plagiarism; he apologized and adjusted. Donald Trump had bankruptcies, divorces, rants and more; he admits no mistakes. Read more…

Teen years are tough (and funny) the second time

The first time they were teenagers, Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle  found life was tricky.
“You’re hiding all of the freaky parts of yourself,” Erskine said.
And what’s it like, now that they’re teens again, in Hulu’s “Pen15” series? The more she gets into it, Konkle said, “the more confused I get about who I was.”
In “Pen15,” the actresses (both 33) play 13-year-old versions of themselves. (They’re shown here, with Erskine at the back of the bike.) Read more…

These movies captured Ginsburg’s wonderful life

Two movies captured opposite ends of Ruth Ginsburg’s wonderful life.
There was the early Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex” (2018) – struggling to get a job, to get a foothold, then to change the world. At 39, she started the Women’s Rights Project.
And there’s the later Gingsburg of the “RBG” documentary (also 2018). At 85, she was a Supreme Court justice with a string of triumphs.
Ginsburg (shown here) died Friday (Sept. 18) at 87, but her story lingers in those films. Both are available via Amazon, iTunes and YouTube. “RBG” is also on Hulu; “On the Basis of Sex” is on the Showtime streaming service and the Showtime add-on for Amazon Prime; it’s also scheduled on Showtime2, at 9 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 20), 1:20 p.m. Sept. 25 and 4:15 p.m. Sept. 29. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 21: The season starts (sort of)

1) “L.A.’s Finest” debut, 8 p.m., Fox. The fall TV season gets off to a quick, slick start. “Finest” – which aired previously on the Spectrum system – is descended from the “Bad Boys” film and has a big-movie look. Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba (shown here) play police detectives. The opener has clever dialog and big chase scenes and shoot-em-ups – so big that the show often strains believability. Read more…

ABC’s dramas return; CBS sets movie night

The wobbly plans for the new TV season have received a couple boosts lately.
One is a temporary step: Next month, CBS will revert to making Sunday an old-movie night.
And the other is more thorough: ABC will have most of its dramas return in November.
One ABC drama (“The Good Doctor,” shown here) returns on Nov. 2; five more arrive Nov. 12-19. That includes “Big Sky” from David E. Kelley (“L.A. Law,” “Ally McBeal,” “Big Little Lies”); its arrival on Nov. 17 should make it the season’s first new, scripted show on the five commercial broadcast networks. Read more…

The Emmys could go wrong … maybe in fun ways

Are you wondering what the Emmys telecast will be like Sunday?
So are Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart (shown here). And they’re the producers.
“Things are going to go wrong,” Stewart said. “It’s never been done before.”
Emmy ceremonies have been done; this is the 72nd one, most of them on national TV. But the others had most of the nominees in one place, ready to step onstage and gush. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 20: It’s Emmy time

1) Emmy awards, 8-11 p.m. ET, 5-8 p.m. and 8-11 p.m. PT, ABC. The sheer size of the TV world makes this a challenge. Producers Ian Stewart and Reg Hudlin (shown here) have sent camera kits to 130 nominees around the country (plus Tel Aviv, Berlin and more). There will be humor (Jimmy Kimmel does the opening monolog) and music, with H.E.R. singing during the “In Memoriam” segment. And others will help, including Oprah Winfrey, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Patrick Stewart, Anthony Anderson, RuPaul, and Count Von Count, of “Sesame Street” fame. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Sept. 21: Fox starts its season; others come close

1) “L.A.’s Finest” opener, 8 p.m. today, Fox. This is important – not because of the show itself (which is pretty good), but what it represents: It’s the start of a makeshift TV season – full-scale on Fox (including “The Simpsons,” shown here), fairly full on the other broadcast networks. “Finest” has already been on the Spectrum cable system, but it’s new to most viewers. Gabrielle Union (reviving her “Bad Boys II” character) and Jessica Alba play police detectives. The opener has clever dialog, movie-quality chase scenes … and absurd plot twists. Read more…

Best-bets for Sept. 19: Ferrell, football, ‘Future’

1) “Saturday Night Live,” 11:29 p.m., NBC. Will Ferrell spent seven years at “SNL,” doing silly things – cheerleader skits (shown here) and such – and them portraying George W. Bush and Alex Trebek and more. A 2014 poll named him viewers’ all-time favorite on the show. He and Adam McKay (a former “SNL” head writer) took a Bush show to Broadway, created the Funny or Die video channel and made movies, from “Elf” to “Anchorman.” Here’s a rerun of Ferrell’s fifth time as host; King Princess is the music guest. Read more…

Here we go: a preview of the season that semi-starts Sept. 21

We finally have an answer to TV’s peskiest question: When will the season start?
It’s starts (sort of) on Sept. 21. It will be smaller than past years, but it will have lots of new shows on the five commercial broadcast networks.
Fox is the most thorough’ starting with the slick “L.A.’s Finest” (shown here) it will be rerun-free. Others are at least adding several shows now, with more in the next few weeks. Read more…