Award shows are fun — as long as Quan wins

There are actors who accept awards casually. They smile slightly, read lethargic lists, then depart.
Then there’s Ke Huy Quan (shown here), who makes the award season worthwhile.
At previous ceremonies (Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, etc.), Quan jumped and hugged and beamed. Now he’s a front-runner at this year’s Academy Awards, at 8 p.m. ET Sunday (March 12) on ABC; so is his movie, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and its star, Michelle Yeoh.
All of this follows a big gap. The pause in his acting career “has been for a long time,” Quan said. Read more…

History — Mel Brooks style — finally returns

For almost 40 years, Mel Brooks has inhabited Nick Kroll’s comic mind.
Kroll was about 5, he says, when he munched a fish stick and proclaimed, “It’s good to be the king.” It was a start.
“Some of my very first laughs ever (were) from me parroting Mel Brooks,” Kroll told the Television Critics Association. “And many, many years later, nothing has changed.”
Now he’s assembled an all-star project: “History of the World, Part II”(shown here), an eight-part sequel to Brooks’ film, airs (two per day) on Hulu, Monday through Thursday (March 6-9). Read more…

Reese’s pieces fill the media landscape

Movie moguls used to have a consistent image.
As portrayed (in films and stories and such), they were big and blunt. They drank a lot, smoked as lot, didn’t read much. They definitely weren’t cherubic-faced book nerds.
That’s what makes this surprising: Reese Witherspoon has become one of Hollywood’s top producers.
Yes, that Reese – the one who convinced us she was a ditz in “Legally Blonde” movies. After lots of success in the past – from “Gone Girl” to “Bright Little Lies” and “Where the Crawdads Sing” – her company, Hello Sunshine, has four series streaming this spring:
— “Daisy Jones & the Six” (shown here) starts Friday (March 3) on Amazon Prime. A richly crafted series about a fictional rock band, it’s filled with characters who are deeply flawed, yet deeply fascinating. Read more…

“True Lies” truly brings action-adventure fun

There’s a type of story that movies savor and TV rarely tries.
It’s high-octane action-adventure, sometimes with comedy tossed in. It might have James Bond or Charlie’s angels or the bad boys or the folks from “Ocean’s 11” or “Fast and Furious” films.
“It’s mainly a movie genre,” said Matt Nix. But now he’s adapted the 1994 “True Lies” movie into a series (shown here) that airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on CBS, starting March 1. Read more…

Reluctantly, he discovered fresh vistas

This is the sort of job many sane folks would cherish.
It’s a travel show to Italy, Costa Rica, Maldeves and more. It “visits some of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing destinations,” said Rita Cooper Lee of Apple TV+.
And it centers on Eugene Levy (shown here) … who says he really didn’t want to go.
“I’m not a great traveler,” Levy told the Television Critics Association. “I don’t have a great sense of adventure. I’m not curious by nature. I’m not proud of any of this, but it’s just a fact.” Which fits “The Reluctant Traveler,” an eight-week debuting Friday (Feb. 24) on Apple. Read more…

An ’80s epic starts a compelling (and final) season

Eight years ago, an unknown English actor met a well-known American producer-director-writer.
Damson Idris had done a few plays, a few TV episodes, one movie; he knew nothing about the chaotic 1980s era in South Central Los Angeles. John Singleton knew everything about it.
They ate Jamaican food in South Central and talked. And then? “He waited for me to get home,” Idris told the Television Critics Association, “before calling me and telling me, ‘Hey, you got the part.’”
That’s the lead role in “Snowfall” (shown here with Idris), the fierce and compelling drama starting its sixth and final season. Its first two episodes – 10 and 11:11 p.m. Wednesday (Feb. 22) on FX, then going to Hulu – conclude with a sensational scene pitting Idris (as Franklin) against Amin Joseph (as Jerome, his uncle). Read more…

She left a comfy career … and found TV stardom

In the wobbly world of acting, Liza Lapira had found a balance.
She had a day job she liked (as a store manager) and a boss who let her leave for auditions. She did theater and had some TV roles, all while living in her home town of New York, near family and friends.
“I had a really great life,” she recalled by phone. “It felt a little safe and comfortable.” So she left.
These days, that move seems wise – especially if you watch CBS on Sundays. In December, she starred in “Must Love Christmas,” the best of the year’s holiday movies; now “The Equalizer” (shown here) – a ratings hit – is finally back in its 8 p.m. slot. Read more…

Life is sunny again for “Magnum” fans

For a while, “Magnum P.I.” fans were perplexed.
Their show – seemingly a ratings success – was ending. And then it wasn’t.
Then again, the shows stars were also confused. “It was a shock that the show was going to go away in the first place,” Jay Hernandez said. “I was genuinely just confused as to why. (Then) I was surprised that it found another home.”
That’s on NBC, which has an all-Magnum night this Sunday (Feb. 19). Reruns from the CBS days are at 7 and 8 p.m., with new episodes at 9 (shown here) and 10. Eric Guggenheim, the producer, said he kind of knew the show would continue somewhere. Read more…

In a changing world, meet-cute rom-coms persist

Twice a year – at Christmas and Valentine time – TV has a romantic-comedy immersion.
Some elements persist in most films. “There’s nothing better than a meet-cute in a rom-com,” said Jonah Feingold, writer-director of “At Midnight,” which has just arrived on Paramount+.
Tben there’s the meet-angry. As Monica Barbaro (shown here with “At Midnight” star Diego Boneta) put it: “We love rom-coms where two characters do not like each other at first …. It’s almost like they are fighting their feelings.” Read more…

Here’s a guide to a super day — plus alternatives

On Super Bowl Sunday, we’re expected to set real life aside.
There’s no time for parenting, pets or pragmatic chores. We’re supposed to focus on football, plus commercials, music (shown here with Rihanna) and more.
With that in mind, here’s a guide for the casual viewer. At the end, we’ll include some alternatives. Read more…