Treat yourself to ‘Sleepy Hollow’ Mon, 28 Oct 2013 05:50:28 +0000 smal3082 In honor of Halloween, this week’s column is about to get spooky. I’ve got a man with no head to talk about, shadowy demons and gruesome murders. They all appear in a little town called Sleepy Hollow which in Fox’s new version, is less quaint hamlet and more ground zero for the arrival of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This isn’t your mother’s Washington Irving.

"Sleepy Hollow" is a clever re-telling of the classic story because it combines [...]]]> Funny family dysfunction on ‘The Millers’ Mon, 21 Oct 2013 06:36:55 +0000 smal3082 The idea of adult children still living with their parents is a popular comedy theme in film and television so it’s only fair that the reverse is having a moment. This season, two comedies took on the premise of parents moving in with their children. While "Dads" is predicted to have an early retirement, "The Millers" is showing more promise thanks to solid performances from Margo Martindale and Will Arnett.

Arnett is Nathan Miller, a newly divorced ‘man on the [...]]]> ‘Super Fun Night’ is not super fun. Mon, 14 Oct 2013 14:02:09 +0000 smal3082 Much of the critical response to ABC’s new comedy "Super Fun Night" has expressed disappointment over the show’s reliance on fat jokes delivered by the main character Kimmie Boubier, played by Rebel Wilson. Wilson made a name for herself in the film "Bridesmaids" and as the character Fat Amy in the movie "Pitch Perfect." She’s not a size two and much of her humor is self-deprecating references to her body shape. In the first episode of the show, Kimmie, a lawyer, rushes [...]]]> Stay Tuned-Can ‘The Crazy Ones’ rise above nostalgia for Robin Williams? Sun, 06 Oct 2013 09:15:55 +0000 smal3082 Not surprisingly, the best thing about the new CBS comedy "The Crazy Ones" is Robin Williams. He plays Simon Roberts, an advertising legend who may be losing his edge. Sarah Michelle Gellar plays his daughter Sydney, his partner in the agency. Simon has made his name in the business by being an unpredictable creative genius but fears he’s lost his touch. Sydney is the pragmatic, no-nonsense one who admires her father’s creativity but worries that his unorthodox style is beginning [...]]]> Talented actors not enough to save ‘Trophy Wife’ Mon, 30 Sep 2013 05:25:23 +0000 smal3082 Party girl plus divorced older man times two ex-wives divided by three manipulative kids equals…this uninspired situation comedy. Bradley Whitford ("The West Wing," "The Good Guys") is Pete, a lawyer who meets Kate (Malin Akerman) in a karaoke bar when she literally falls into his lap. Sparks fly. Fast forward a year and Kate is serving burnt breakfast to her new stepchildren, trying to win their acceptance and affection. Akerman is funny, particularly in a scene where she saves her [...]]]> Into the bedroom with ‘Masters of Sex’ Mon, 23 Sep 2013 00:40:48 +0000 smal3082 "Masters of Sex," a play on the last name of pioneering doctor William Masters, is a new drama series from Showtime based on the real work of Masters, played by the talented Michael Sheen, and his assistant Virginia Johnson (the equally talented Lizzy Caplan) who boldly went where no researchers in 1950′s America had gone before—into the bedroom. Their work challenged a moral climate that restricted discussions of human sexuality to procreation. For Masters and Johnson sex was about a [...]]]> ‘Amish Mafia’ is an offer you can refuse Mon, 16 Sep 2013 05:10:23 +0000 smal3082 So the Amish, a traditionalist Christian group, who are recognized for their simple dress, rejection of modern technology and use of the horse and buggy, have a mafia. Who knew? Apparently, not the Amish church who according to the show "Amish Mafia" denies the existence of this underground gang of thugs who are all about making money in the guise of policing their community. Season two of "Amish Mafia" focuses on the bad blood between rival bosses "Lebanon Levi" of Lancaster, Pennsylvania [...]]]> Funny cops on ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Mon, 09 Sep 2013 05:11:34 +0000 smal3082 A hard-nosed boss and his talented but undisciplined employee, partners who are polar opposites, the nerdy guy who pines for a woman out of his league, the sarcastic assistant, the tough girl who is secretly nice—all these characters should be familiar to you because versions of them show up in countless TV comedies. It’s not that writers are unoriginal. Rather, these characters are a sort of shorthand in storytelling, a way to immediately communicate a recognizable idea. A [...]]]> Fall TV Preview Mon, 02 Sep 2013 00:22:16 +0000 smal3082 This fall, TV networks are fighting for your attention with over 30 new series. While I’m not officially allowed to review most of them yet, I can give you a heads up on the line up. Here’s what’s coming your way in September.

TNT kicks things off with "Cold Justice" (9/3), a reality show from "Law & Order’s" Dick Wolf. Two women, one a former prosecutor, the other a former crime-scene investigator, work together to find new evidence in unsolved murder [...]]]> ‘Luther’ is back with more gritty drama Mon, 26 Aug 2013 00:25:59 +0000 smal3082 The committed, determined and flawed British cop John Luther (Idris Elba) is back for a third season investigating dark crimes. In the latest four part series, Luther hunts a fetishist committing multiple murders, investigates the murder of an internet tormentor and becomes the target of an obsessed vigilante. To further complicate things, two of his colleagues are trying to destroy him by turning his partner against him all while he begins a new romance. Did I forget to mention that Alice [...]]]> Lifetime scores a hit with ‘Devious Maids’ Mon, 19 Aug 2013 00:13:32 +0000 smal3082 There has been a lot of discussion about the new comedy/drama series "Devious Maids," much of it expressing disappointment over the show’s depiction of five Latina women who work as domestic help. While many critics applaud the groundbreaking choice to put Latina actresses in leading roles on an English language program, some see the decision to make them housekeepers as enforcing a stereotype. I mention this debate because it’s difficult to review the show without acknowledging [...]]]> Saying goodbye to ‘Dexter’ Mon, 12 Aug 2013 17:15:51 +0000 smal3082 So Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) has killed (many) people but they were all (mostly) bad. Yes, he’s dated some questionable women. There was the one who liked to start fires and the one who enjoyed secretly poisoning people. And yes, his brother was a serial killer whose preferred method was to separate his victims into tiny pieces. Then again, it’s a profession that runs in the family since Dexter is also a serial killer but is it really his fault? As a child, he witnessed men [...]]]> A ‘Twisted’ murder mystery on ABC Family. Mon, 29 Jul 2013 15:01:13 +0000 smal3082 ABC Family has cornered the market on shows featuring alternative versions of domestic life. There’s "The Fosters," a series about multi-ethnic kids, both biological and from foster care, being raised by lesbians. "Baby Daddy" is a comedy about a young, single father. "Bunheads" (now cancelled) explores what happens to the familial ties between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law after the son/husband dies while "Switched at Birth" takes a look at two families who are forced to [...]]]> Surviving the wild and a Bear in ‘Get Out Alive’ Sun, 21 Jul 2013 22:07:50 +0000 smal3082 When I heard the title of this NBC reality show featuring survival specialist Bear Grylls, my first thought was that it should have an explanation point for even more dramatic impact. "Get Out Alive!" I could imagine Bear shouting it in his British accent. Then again, it’s kind of a silly title since there is no alternative. You can’t get out of something if you’re not alive to actually get out of it. The show however, is more entertaining than it is silly. It’s like [...]]]> I’m not “all shook up” about ‘Graceland’ Mon, 15 Jul 2013 00:19:57 +0000 smal3082 Sorry to disappoint all you Elvis fans out there but USA’s new series "Graceland" has nothing to do with the King. It’s a cop drama and by cops I mean DEA , FBI and US Customs agents, who all live together in a big house in California formerly owned by a drug dealer who really liked his Elvis paraphernalia. There are six agents, four men and two women. No one in the neighborhood seems to wonder why six attractive people who appear to make a good living would live in a beach front [...]]]> Is Your Television Set A Babysitter? Mon, 08 Jul 2013 17:10:18 +0000 admin Children spent a lot of time in front of the television and that is not always a bad thing. There are quite a number of excellent educational programming that can help them develop better reading, writing, comprehension, math and science skills. Even pop culture entertainment has value if it offers good lessons on moral behavior.

The problem with kids watching too much television is when parents use the TV as a babysitter.

Unfortunately, there are parents that Why I won’t be watching season two of ‘The Newsroom’ Mon, 08 Jul 2013 03:05:38 +0000 smal3082 When HBO announced that Aaron Sorkin was returning to series television with "The Newsroom," I was excited. If you’ve ever read the "About" section that accompanies this column, you know that I wrote a book on Sorkin’s show "The West Wing." So, full disclosure: I am a big fan of his work.

It came as quite a [...]]]> Reality TV gets ethical with ‘The Hero’ Mon, 01 Jul 2013 00:28:09 +0000 smal3082 Is the definition of a hero subjective? Or is there one meaning we can all agree on? That’s one of the ideas the new TNT reality competition show "The Hero" ponders. The other is: Everyone has a price.


Hosted by Dwayne "the Rock" Johnson and set in Panama, the physical challenges of this show are tough but [...]]]> ‘Do No Harm’: Catch it while you can Mon, 24 Jun 2013 01:55:26 +0000 smal3082 Every night at 8:25PM Dr. Jason Cole (Steven Pasquale), neurosurgeon and all around good guy turns into "Ian," unemployed, mostly bad guy. Jason has kept Ian, his nasty alter ego, buried for five years thanks to an experimental drug but now Ian has developed immunity. Unleashed every evening, Ian gets up to no good and Jason wakes up at exactly 8:25AM with fuzzy memories of Ian’s nightly adventures.


Network News Coverage-Good or Bad? Tue, 16 Apr 2013 15:00:00 +0000 admin Has the nightly cover on the network news been good or bad? Answering this question is a matter of perspective. The goal of the news is to inform. Therefore, if the news informs you to a reliable degree, you likely will be pleased with the coverage. If a particular network news program is not delivering on your expectations, then you likely will switch the channel and watch one of the other broadcasts.

Also, whether or not the editorial slant of the news agrees with your opinions [...]]]>