When, really, does new TV season start?

For TV viewers, there are pressing questions:
1) When will the new season start?
2) Will there actually be a new season?
The second answer is a firm “sort of.” Flattened by the writers’ and actors’ strikes, networks have put together makeshift line-ups. It won’t be pretty, but it will be TV.
And the first one has several answers. Some details (especially from ABC) are missing, but most are here, especially with the dominant role of football (shown here). For the broadcast networks, let’s consider one of these to be the starting date for a rickety season: Read more…

Amid melancholy, a character actor soars

Defying the wise counsel of his career advisors, Adrian Scarborough became an actor – and a busy one.
He had subservient roles – the valet in “Blunt Talk,” butler in “Upstairs Downstairs,” chauffeur in “Don Juan in Soho.” He had bigger ones – Villanelle’s handler in “Killing Eve,” the iffy doctor in “Sanditon.” He played more doctors, plus vicars, a goblin, a bunny, a mole and Winston Churchill.
It’s been an enviable career, sort of. “You have these great character roles,”said Scarborough, 55, “but only for two or three days …. You parachute in, do a few scenes and don’t really get to meet people.”
Then came “The Chelsea Detective” (shown here). It’s a chance to dig into a person and place he finds fascinating. Read more…

Here’s what’s coming in the strike-torn fall

TV networks – and TV viewers – are near their make-do phase.
Even if the writers’ and actors’ strikes are settled soon, the usual shows won’t be back until mid-season. Starting next month, networks will make do with tacked-together schedules; viewers will make do by sticking to streamers and cable (also wounded by the strikes) or maybe even reading a book.
But yes, the traditional networks will have shows this fall – even some scripted episodes (incluing “Magnum,” shown here) you haven’t seen before. Here’s a round-up of the commercial broadcast networks, plus the scripted shows on PBS: Read more…

Slow time for TV? Not if you like mysteries

Sure, the TV world is sputtering now. Summer line-ups are winding down; the fall ones are patchwork.
But let’s note an upside: This is a great time to watch mysteries.
A funny one (“Only Murders in the Building,” shown here) just started its season; a serious one (“Dark Winds”) began a week earlier. Another (“Justified: City Primeval”) is funny AND serious and violent..
Then there’s “The Lincoln Lawyer,” which just finished its split season. And “The Chelsea Detective,” which starts a new season on Aug. 28. Six days later, three shows – “Unforgiven,” “Professor T” and “Van der Valk” – all start their seasons on PBS. Read more…

“Succession” tops TV critics’ awards

With its final burst of Emmy glory being delayed, “Succession” (shown here) has a solid concession prize:
It has won the top Television Critics Association award, as program of the year. It has also been named the best drama.
The awards were announced today (Monday, Aug. 7), with no accompanying ceremony, due to the actors’ and writers’ strikes. By comparison, the Emmys have been delayed indefinitely. Read more…

Party time: On Aug. 11, hip hop turns 50

Hip hop has something that most music can’t claim – a specific birthdate.
Classical? Jazz? Polka? Country or rock or pop? They might point to a century and a continent.
But hip hop has a date – Aug. 11, 1973. And a location – 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in West Bronx. And a performer – DJ Kool Herc (shown here0, then 18 years old. And an organizer – his little sister Cindy Campbell, trying to make money for back-to-school clothes.
And now its 50th anniversary is Friday.
Television started the party early – a “Fight the Power” documentary series January on PBS … an epic Grammys medley February on CBS … a three-year project on Showtime … and more. On the birthday, Showtime has a marathon, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; the next day, A&E starts a three-Saturday artifact hunt, “Hip Hop Treasures.” Read more…

CBS sets dates for makeshift fall line-up

CBS viewers now have some certainty about the upcoming season.
Yes, it will be a makeshift line-up, cobbled together because of the writers’ and actors’ strikes. But now, at least, there are definite dates for the shows.
The season will start Sept. 2 for college football (shown here) … and Sept. 14 for reality-show Thursdays … and Sept. 17 for Sundays anchored by “Yellowstone” reruns … and Sept. 27 for more, starting with the supersized “Survivor” and “Amazing Race.”
Even if the strikes do get settled, scripted shows won’t be ready for their usual fall starts. In its patched-up line-up, CBS has: Read more…

“Reservation Dogs” returns, amid an FX surge

As we peek ahead to the third – and, alas, final – season of “Reservation Dogs” (shown here), thoughts emerge:
1) This may be as close as TV gets to a golden age for American Indian shows. There are only two of them, but they’re terrific. “Dark Winds” starts its season at 9 p.m. Sunday (July 30) on AMC (reaching AMC+ on Thursday, July 27); “Reservation Dogs” starts it 10-episode season Aug. 2 on Hulu.
2) Good shows leave too soon – voluntarily, no less. Bland ones seem to be forever.
3) Emmy voters are crazy.
4) The FX people keep giving us great moments. From the current “Justified” mini-series and “What We Do in the Shadows” to the upcoming “Breeders” and “Reservation Dogs”; the quality is extraordinary. But let’s go back: Read more…

A rootless start propelled Root’s career

When Stephen Root (shown here) does a TV role – which is often – a slice of his dad emerges.
“Everything I do probably comes a little bit from him.” Root said.
Well – maybe some things morte than others. Root is both a voice actor – including the intriguing “Praise Petey,” which debuts at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Friday (July 21) on Freeform – and an on-camera guy, including his Emmy-nominated role in the just-ended “Barry.” His roles range afar.
He’s been a vampire, an exterminator, a coach, a mental patient and a royal tart toter. He’s been Superman’s uncle and Batman’s nemesis. He’s been real people (J. Edgar Hoover, NASA leader Chris Craft) and Fred Flintstone, Santa Claus and a Klingon officer. He’s been lots of judges and officials, plus guys called Zeb Zoober, Woozy Winks, Big Ducky and Mr. Big Corporation. Read more…

Amid strikes, networks plan a makeshift fall

As Hollywood’s mega-strike begins, viewers are wondering about the fall TV season.
There will be one, of course; there always is. But it will have lots of non-fiction – reality shows, game shows and such – plus others. There will be sports (especially football), Fox’s Sunday cartoons (including the new “Krapopolis,” shown here), a few foreign imports, some Disney movies … and, of course, reruns.
All of that became more inevitable when the 160,000-member actors’ union joined the picket lines today (July 14). The 10,000-member writers’ union had been there since May 2.
Even if there’s a quick settlement – a possibility, at least, now that both unions are involved – it’s way too late to start a normal season. Here’s what the broadcast networks have announced so far: Read more…