Mike Hughes

On becoming desperate in Orlando, Florida

Mel Rodriguez – or what’s left of him – was discussing two important subjects.
Both are key to the Kirsten Dunst series (“On Becoming a God in Central Florida,” shown here) he co-stars in. And both have places in his life. They are:
— Multi-level, from-home marketing schemes. “My mother was in Grand Rapids, Mich., where Amway started,” he said. “She almost got into it and regrets the day that she didn’t, because she would have been really wealthy now.”
— Florida. “I’m from Florida and there’s a real hopelessness in places like Ocala and Gainesville. These are people living from paycheck to paycheck, (hoping) they can maybe not get their lights turned off.” Read more…

Carrie, Dolly, Reba, more: Country women rise

For generations, the women in country music songs have been cheated and mistreated or just ignored until closing time at the bar.
Some have had revenge. Some have shrugged it off because, in Tammy Wynette’s words, “after all, he’s just a man.”
But now they (sometimes) have their day. Just announced is this year’s plan for the Country Music Association awards, Nov. 13: Carrie Underwood (shown here) will host, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton will be special guests and the night will celebrate the women of country music. Read more…

An “impatient” photographer finds Arctic warmth, beauty

Ronan Donovan has spend large chunks of his life waiting – for the perfect shot, the perfect moment.
He spent three months among white wolves in the Arctic, for an epic documentary (shown here) that debuts Sunday (Aug. 25).
He spent a year in Yellowstone, filming gray wolves.“People think that I’m like the most patient human,” he said. “I’m incredibly impatient. I’m very stubborn and very obsessive in my projects, and that’s what drives me.” Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 20: Season ends for two potent dramas

1) “Animal Kingdom” season-finale, 9 p.m., TNT. For four seasons, this has been all about “Smurf” Cody (Ellen Barkin), guiding her sons (including Craig and Deran, shown here) and grandson in a brutal crime family. Now she’s gone – dying of cancer, she forced them to kill her – and the family is in limbo. “Smurf’s dead,” someone says. “Cody don’t mean (bleep) anymore.” That’s said twice in this hour – the second time met with vigorous dissent. Setting up next season, it’s a deeply emotional hour that returns people from Smurf’s past. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 19: Maxi-star, micro-musical

1) “Carpool Karaoke,” 10 p.m., CBS. You never know what kind of musician you’ll get at an English pub, but this exceeded all expectations: It was Sir Paul McCartney. That was one of the highlights, as James Corden – an English kid, born eight years after the Beatles broke up – joined him. They visited a Beatles statue (show here), McCartney’s childhood home and some places mentioned in “Penny Lane.” The result is nominated for five Emmys, including best variety special not done live. Read more…

Striking a fresh “Pose,” Porter soars

For many actors, 50 is somewhere near the end zone. It’s time to play dads and angry desk sergeants.
And for Billy Porter? “I’m having a fabulous time,” he said.
He already has a Tony and a Grammy; he could add an Emmy on Sept. 22 … the day after he turns 50.
That’s in “Pose,” which has given him fresh opportunities. On the season finale (Tuesday), he said, he’ll get a new love interest; two weeks earlier, he had his first nude scene. Read more…

Best-bets for Aug. 18: A righteous family wobbles

1) “The Righteous Gemstones” debut, 10 p.m., HBO. Danny McBride co-created and starred in two shows — “Eastbound & Down” and “Vice Principals” — that had a ragged, working-bloke feel. Now he goes way upscale; we’re at a mega-church, full of glitz and gimmicks. John Goodman is the pastor and patriarch, at a loss since the death of his wife (Jennifer Nettles, via flashbacks). In the fairly entertaining opener, their sons (McBride and Adam Devine, shown here) and and daughter (Edi Patterson) get in huge trouble. Read more…

“I Ship It”: A fun show rises from the minors

TV critics are suckers for a surprise.
If something great comes from the usual sources – HBO, FX, PBS, AMC, the streaming services, anywhere on the British Isles – we’re sorta happy. But if something pretty good comes from the lesser spots, we’re delighted.
That may be why I was so pleased with “Florida Girls,” a flawed-but-funny show on Pop (which hasn’t yet confirmed that there will be a second season). And it’s why I’m so happy about “I Ship It,” a mini-musical comedy that reaches CW on Monday (Aug. 19), after years in the minors. Read more…

Week’s top-10 for Aug. 19: Debuts, finales and Sir Paul

1) “Carpool Karaoke,” 10 p.m. today, CBS. Imagine you’re sitting in a British pub one day and a bloke comes out with a guitar. He seems pretty good and … hey, he’s Paul McCartney! That was one of the highlights of this special, which debuted a year ago. James Corden (shown here with McCartney in real and statue form), the Englishman who hosts CBS’ late-late show, also visited McCartney’s childhood home and some places mentioned in “Penny Lane.” The result is up for five Emmys, including best variety special; overall, Corden has seven nominations. Read more…