Mike Hughes

African immigrants (fictional or real) have their TV moments

Stories of African immigrants are getting a rare spurt of TV attention.
You can find them Monday (Aug. 3) in a witty comedy – “Bob (Hearts) Abishola,” 8:30 p.m. on CBS — and a serious documentary, “POV,” 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). You can even see this beneath the reality-show glitz of “Real Housewives of Potomac,” at 9 p.m. Sundays on Bravo.
And yes, that’s a huge range – from comedy and glitter to the PBS film. which describes the six-year ordeal of a woman simply identified as Sabine (shown here), who went from country to country. Read more…

A national diary soars in the time of COVID

As the year began, PBS launched a sort of national diary.
People could simply send in their stories, via video (usually) … or photos … or prose … or whatever.
Eventually, some would be tied into a special – one of which (shown here) airs at 10:30 p.m. this Sunday (Aug. 2) on many stations. It would be kind of pleasant and PBS-y.
Then COVID came and everything changed. Read more…

Best bets for Aug. 1: Lotsa basketball, many movies

(Here are the five TV best-bets for Saturday, Aug. 1; feel free to use in any form, all or some, print and/or web)

1) Basketball, all day, ESPN. On the third day of the rebooted season, we get a four-game marathon. It’s Heat-Nuggets at 1 p.m ET, Jazz-Thunder at 3:30, Pelicans-Clippers at 6 and Lakers-Raptors at 8. That collides with the second weekend of baseball; at 7:15 ET, Fox has Red Sox-Yankees or (in some regions) Astros-Angels. And on Sunday, basketball moves to ABC.
Read more…

Even in a pandemic, PBS is busy

The world may be in a slow-down, shut-down mode, but you can’t prove it by PBS.
The network – now in a three-day stretch of press conferences with the Television Critics Association – somehow seems busier than ever.
There is Ken Burns (shown here), juggling films. “I am, like an idiot, working on eight projects,” he said.
And Henry Louis Gates, doing a four-hour, February film about Black churches … and glad that the church portions were filmed early. “This is not exactly the safest place to be at the time of a pandemic.” Read more…

Best-bets for July 31: “Little Women,” big talent

1) “Little Women” (2019), 8 p.m., Starz. This story is perfect for its time – and any other time. It was admired in 1868; 150 years later, PBS viewers put it No. 8 on their favorite-novels list. Jo March, wise and determined, came alive in 1933 (Katharine Hepburn), ‘49 (June Allyson), ‘94 (Winona Ryder), 2018 (Maya Hawke) and here. This won an Oscar for its costumes and nominations for best picture, its script (by talented director Greta Gerwig) and Saoirse Ronan and Florence Pugh, as Jo and Amy. Read more…

Emmys like “SNL” and Pitt (or Fauci)

Donald Trump has another reason to fume: Dr. Fauci – or, actually, Brad Pitt playing Dr. Fauci – has an Emmy nomination.
Pitt (shown here) played him in a brief opening sketch on “Saturday Night Live.” Now he’s part of the show’s big haul for acting nominations.
That includes three regulars (Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong and Kate McKinnon) and three hosts (Eddie Murphy, Adam Driver and Phoebe Waller-Bridge), plus guest actress Maya Rudolph and Pitt. Read more…

Best-bets for July 30: Basketball’s back

1) Basketball return, 6:30 and 9 p.m. ET, TNT. Life may finally be better for sports fans. Baseball starts its second week and basketball resumes its broken season. It starts with the New Orleans Pelicans (hoping that powerhouse Zion Williamson, shown here) is healthy and ready to play), then has the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers. Those names seem problematic, of course, because Los Angeles has no lakes and Utah has little jazz. One team moved from New Orleans, which has great jazz; another moved from Minnesota, which has great (or, at least, really good) lakes. Read more…

Culture clash? Nigerian grit meets reality-show glitz

TV is fond of opposites and odd couples, so maybe this makes sense:
When “Real Housewives of Potomac” starts its season Sunday (Aug. 2), a hard-working Nigerian-American – with four college degrees, three children and many jobs – will join the flashy crowd.
It’s not a total mismatch, Wendy Osefo said. “I’m in the same social circles as some of the ladies.” (She’s shown here. socially circling with her husband Edward and, right, Candiace Dillard._
Still, we think of the various “Real Housewives” reality shows as being filled with glitz, with privileged people who are ready to throw a drink or at raise a fuss. By comparison, Osefo’s life has involved constant motion. “I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel,” she said, without really complaining. Read more…