With Breaking Bad coming to a triumphant close — depending on who you ask — this past Sunday, it’s time to take immediate, knee-jerk stock of the television landscape and anoint a new MVP: Most Valuable Program. Here are 25(!) series that are vying for the prize. Let’s choose one, shall we?
And so it ends, with a surprisingly elegiac, old-school sendoff for Walter Hartwell White.
It’s a big year for coming-of-age flicks, with the Arkansas-set Mud (starring Matthew McConaughey, in the running for an Oscar nom) and The Way Way Back both drawing critical acclaim. By contrast, The Kings of Summer doesn’t really aspire to much — it’s an extremely simple story, with a lot of funny moments, but it’s missing a payoff.
A review of The Michael J. Fox Show pilot, Pawnee goes to London, and more in a new weekly feature where I rank sitcom episodes based on my arbitrary whims.
A great long-form murder mystery is hard to pull off in the 21st century, because audiences have gotten more cynical and are quicker at putting the pieces together. With entire message boards devoted to theories and speculation as a series like Broadchurch progresses, the “big reveal” at the end will always run the risk of underwhelming (if there even IS a reveal, as The Killing learned to its peril) — but Broadchurch skirts that issue, and does so brilliantly.
There’s an awful lot riding on this one. With the full weight of the Marvel/Disney publicity machine behind it, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. can’t be anything less than an out-of-the-box smash. Good news? It’s probably the best drama pilot of the year. Bad news? All it has to be to clear that bar is “okay.”
Certainly an improvement on 2010’s muddled Iron Man 2, the third film in the franchise has a zippy script and a fun twist — but ultimately demonstrates why I’m ready for the suit to be hung up.
There are films that seep into the public consciousness so deeply that we begin to take them for granted, and their greatness is assumed but no longer deeply thought about. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those films.
Last week, creator Vince Gilligan said that “Ozymandias” was “the best episode we ever had or will ever have.” While that might be a red flag to some about next week’s grand finale, it absolutely signaled the piece-moving, comedown episode we had last night. I didn’t love it, but it was necessary.
A brainy science-fiction show with romantic’s heart, a procedural with fully-formed characters, a crazy action series with a brilliant cast — FRINGE was many things, and always great.