Category Archives: Television

When They See Us

WHAT IF ALL BOYS WERE CREATED EQUAL? An entire nation was horrified by the Central Park Five case of 1989 – five young black and Hispanic men were sentenced to many years in prison for having attacked and raped a white woman in Central Park. But they were innocent. This miniseries shows how poorly police … Continue reading When They See Us

Chernobyl: System Failure

WHAT IS THE COST OF LIES? After the premiere of this excellent miniseries, Chernobyl fever gripped the United States and Europe. There was a renewed interest in debating nuclear power and its awesome dangers, which came right at a time when the climate crisis demands fossil-free energy sources and some politicians argue that new nuclear … Continue reading Chernobyl: System Failure

Deadwood: The Movie

WELCOME THE FUCK BACK. In 1889, as South Dakota is celebrating its entrance into the Union, a few familiar faces are coming back to Deadwood where a significantly weakened Al Swearangen (Ian McShane) is still holding court. It took many years to get this TV movie, a bittersweet and very engaging conclusion to the 2004-2006 … Continue reading Deadwood: The Movie

Fosse/Verdon

The story of the the troubled but brilliant partnership, on and off stage, between the legendary choreographer and director Bob Fosse and the Broadway star Gwen Verdon gets a superb, dark treatment in this limited series. Throwing us back and forth between seminal events in their lives (while also constantly reminding us of mortality), we … Continue reading Fosse/Verdon

Game of Thrones: There Be Dragons

As the ending neared for the most talked-about TV series on the planet, its most die-hard fans and some of America’s most unforgiving television critics were piling it on. The show wasn’t as smart as it used to be, now it was all about action. The writing wasn’t true to how these people viewed the … Continue reading Game of Thrones: There Be Dragons

Veep: Echoing the Age of Trump

In my review of the fabulous comedy In the Loop (2009), directed and co-written by Armando Iannucci who went on to create Veep for American television, I mentioned how the sadness and anger seep through the concept. That film, along with virtually everything else Iannucci has done, depicts politics as a heartless game where all … Continue reading Veep: Echoing the Age of Trump

King Lear

As French forces gather on England, King Lear (Anthony Hopkins) divides his land among his three daughters (Emma Thompson, Emily Watson, Florence Pugh). The most memorable cinematic version of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy is still Kurosawa’s Ran (1985); this TV movie places the story in an alternate modern, militarized Britain, but it’s not enough to make … Continue reading King Lear

The Americans: Suburban Spies

In 2010, the Illegals Program was revealed in the United States. That was an investigation by the FBI uncovering and arresting ten Russian agents who had been living in the U.S. for years, posing as American citizens. As they went about their everyday lives they tried to obtain intelligence for Russia by making friends with … Continue reading The Americans: Suburban Spies

Playing for Time

During World War II, the French singer and pianist Fania Fénelon (Vanessa Redgrave) is sent to Auschwitz where she’s hired to perform together with a women’s orchestra. A critically acclaimed TV movie that came on the heels of the miniseries Holocaust (1978), presented like a play by Arthur Miller. Set in filthy, sparsely furnished camp … Continue reading Playing for Time

Brexit: The Uncivil War

MEET THE MAN WHO ALTERED THE HISTORY OF BRITAIN. Political strategist Dominic Cummings (Benedict Cumberbatch) is reluctantly drawn into action after two years away from Westminster; now he’s tasked with heading the Leave campaign in the upcoming Brexit vote. Based on thorough research, this TV movie examines the national mood during the run-up to the … Continue reading Brexit: The Uncivil War

Hatfields & McCoys

NEVER FORGIVE. NEVER FORGET. Shortly after the Civil War, two families in the West Virginia-Kentucky area begin a feud that takes on epic proportions over the following three decades. The story of the most notorious family feud in American history gets an exciting and handsome treatment in the History channel’s first stab at scripted drama. … Continue reading Hatfields & McCoys

A Very English Scandal

In 1961, Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe (Hugh Grant) has a romantic affair with a troubled young man, Norman (Ben Whishaw); as Thorpe’s political career takes off, Norman gets back in touch… The 1970s sex scandal and conspiracy-to-murder trial that ended the career of the Liberal Party leader at the time gets a very, very enjoyable … Continue reading A Very English Scandal

House of Cards: Underwood’s Underworld

There were people who hated House of Cards right from the start. Some were political analysts who didn’t find any of the outlandish events on the show credible. Others considered the cynical tone unappealing and sort of unhelpful in a world that was becoming increasingly ugly; did we really need a show where every politician … Continue reading House of Cards: Underwood’s Underworld