“Mayans” duo world — noisy action, subtle passion

It’s a small, quiet scene in a show known for big, noisy ones. And it packs the emotional power we expect from “Mayans M.C.”
On one side of the glass is Alicia, who hasn’t been in jail before; on the other is EZ (shown here, second from right, in a previous episode), who has.
“Anything you try to keep – hope – will just get destroyed” in prison, he tells her. “So kill it first …. Shut it all down.”
Her question: “When I get out, how do I turn it back on?”
That’s a question for Elgin James, who’s been on both sides of the glass. He’s the co-creator and producer of “Mayans,” which airs at 10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX, then goes to Hulu. He’s in charge of a much-praised drama; he’s also spent a year in prison. Read more…

Bacon masters a verbal volcano of schemes and hate

Jackie Rohr is a verbal volcano. Words spill out – sometimes clever, often caustic and conniving.
He’s racist, misogynist and nasty; he’s also an FBI agent in 1993 Boston. As played by Kevin Bacon (shown here with Aldis Hodge) in “City on a Hill” – which starts its second season at 10 p.m. Sunday (March 28) on Showtime – he’s one of TV’s most memorable characters.
And yes, there are viewers who admire the fact that he gets things done.
“These are not things I personally feel about the man,” Bacon told the Television Critics Association. “He’s not really a person (I would) like or respect or want to spend time with. He’s a (feces), really.” Read more…

After a two-decade pause, he’s back on the radar

Two opposite forces seemed to tug at Emilio Estevez.
Like his dad (Martin Sheen), he’s a serious soul, in search of large causes. Like his brother (Charlie Sheen), he has starred in pop-culture movies.
And then … well, the serious side took over. “To a lot of people, it had seemed like I had sort of dropped off the radar,” Estevez, 58, told the Television Critics Association.
Now, after two-decades, he’s back on view with “The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers” (shown here), which starts Friday (March 26) on Disney+. It follows a movie trilogy that has also spawned an animated series and the name of a Disney-owned pro hockey team. Read more…

Twyla Tharp: 80 years of artful movement

Twyla Tharp’s life has covered much of the dance universe.
It’s involved Broadway and ballet, Beethoven and Baryshnikov and the Beach Boys. It’s included one movie (“Hair,” shown here) that rippled with dance and another (“I’ll Do Anything”) that cut every dance scene.
“It’s a wildly, wildly diverse, unbelievable career,” Steven Cantor, whose “American Masters” profile airs at 9 p.m. Friday (March 26) on PBS, told the Television Critics Association. Read more…

“Aretha” soars along a vast and soulful life

Some lives are neat and fun-sized; they can easily be condensed into a movie or less.
Then there are the grand exceptions: Starting at 9 p.m. Sunday (March 21), the National Geographic Channe;’s four-night, eight-hour mini-series (shown here) will view the overflowing life of the late Aretha Franklin.
“Aretha had such … a long career,” writer-producer Suzan-Lori Parks told the Television Critics Association, She had “a beautiful life, full of peaks and valleys that we can only imagine living.”
Her music reflected that range. She went from gospel to jazz, then was dubbed “the queen of soul.” She rocked; she dabbled in disco. And when Luciano Pavarotti turned ill, she sang opera at the Grammys. Read more…

“Bloodlands” reflects brooding beauty of Northern Ireland

The coastal expanse of Northern Ireland seems to be waiting for a tough murder mystery.
Now it has one. “Bloodlands” (shown here) opens Monday (March 15), for a four-week run on the Acorn streaming service.
“The idea came from that very distinct sense of place,” writer Chris Brandon told the Television Critics Association. He wanted “a story that really used the landscape of Northern Ireland.” Read more…

Alanis transforms again … this time, into a cartoon

Alanis Morissette’s life seems to be in perpetual transition.
She was a tween, doing peppy dance songs. And a teen, writing songs of pain and rage. And a grown-up, at the top of the music world. And a latecomer to Broadway success.
And now? “I watch animated shows … a lot,” said Morissette, 46. “I have a 10-year-old son and that’s mostly what we do.”
She also co-stars in one of those shows. In “The Great North” (8:30 p.m. Sundays on Fox), she plays herself (appearing inside the aurora borealis, shown here, in the Alaskan sky), chatting with a teen girl. Read more…

“Masked Singer” returns, illusions and all

“The Masked Singer”is back, with its layers of illusion.
The performers (shown here in a previous season) are masked, the voices are altered and the studio audience is make-believe.
“We want to give people something that takes them away from the reality,” Robin Thicke said.
That reality is COVID-scarred. Performers sing to an empty theater; Nick Cannon, the host, was replaced by Niecy Nash for the already-taped first half of the season (8 p.m. Wednesdays on Fox, starting March 10), after he tested positive. Read more…

Working for Oprah has its benefits

There’s an added benefit to doing an Oprah Winfrey Network show: You might meet Oprah Winfrey.
Well, maybe not a three-dimensional, in-person Oprah, during this social-distancing era. But there’s her image, talking to you on your computer screen.
“It was like some angel landed in the Zoom,” said Maahra Hill (shown here), who has the title role in “Delilah,” at 9 p.m. Tuesdays (starting March 9) on OWN.
Jill Marie Jones, who co-stars, recalled the first such Zoom call: “She had her Oprah voice that was just so golden goodness. And then she said my name in her Oprah voice and I just died.” Read more…

Freeform finds good drama in “Good Trouble”

Five years ago, a cable channel transformed – again..
It had been the Christian Broadcasting Network … then the Family Channel … then Fox Family … then ABC Family. Now it would be Freeform.
“’Freeform’ evokes a mood, a sense of spontaneity, creativity,” Tom Ascheim, the channel’s president, insisted. His channel would focus on “that place between childhood and adulthood, … between your first kiss and your first kid.”
That’s a tough target; Freeform has missed several times, but has hit the mark twice. On opposite coasts, those shows depict young people (likable and telegenic) starting careers amid personal chaos: Read more…