On its surface, Mad Men is a show about terrible people getting away with whatever they like in a time of white privilege, sexism, and cigarettes. Good thing it’s SO MUCH MORE than that.
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.
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.”
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.
This Sunday, Neil Patrick Harris hosts the Emmys, which purports to honor the finest television of last year, but is mostly an opportunity for the voters to repeatedly honor the same people over and over again. If the Golden Globes are awful because of their nomination process, at least they usually get the winners right. The Emmys, meanwhile, are constantly behind the curve. Will anything change this year? Let’s dive into the nominations…
Pilots are hard. Writers have to quickly build a world and introduce believable and memorable characters, with enough of a story hook to make viewers come back for another round. Comedy pilots are even harder — they also have to tell some jokes, and do it all in just 22 minutes.