TV Review: ‘Nightflyers’ on Syfy

“Nightflyers” begins with a compelling sequence taken from late in its story’s action, in which Dr. Agatha Matheson (Gretchen Mol) is fighting for her life on a space journey gone horribly wrong. She’s fleeing an assailant who s…

“Nightflyers” begins with a compelling sequence taken from late in its story’s action, in which Dr. Agatha Matheson (Gretchen Mol) is fighting for her life on a space journey gone horribly wrong. She’s fleeing an assailant who seems compelled by something unearthly, and goes on to send a warning to whomever out there is listening […]

TV Review: ‘The Clinton Affair’

Earlier this year, Bill Clinton undertook a publicity tour — his first in some time disconnected from his wife’s political career, and one designed to promote a thriller novel he’d co-written with James Patterson. But what perhaps was meant…

Earlier this year, Bill Clinton undertook a publicity tour — his first in some time disconnected from his wife’s political career, and one designed to promote a thriller novel he’d co-written with James Patterson. But what perhaps was meant as the 42nd president’s sprightly display of charisma and distraction from the news generated by the […]

TV Review: ‘Escape at Dannemora’

When we meet Joyce Mitchell, she’s at a low moment, being questioned about her role in a prison breakout. She’s combative, bristling and insistent on being called by her nickname, Tilly, and evidently dissembling under the gaze of the state’s inspector…

When we meet Joyce Mitchell, she’s at a low moment, being questioned about her role in a prison breakout. She’s combative, bristling and insistent on being called by her nickname, Tilly, and evidently dissembling under the gaze of the state’s inspector general (Bonnie Hunt). When we shift back in time to see how her troubles […]

TV Review: ‘Sally4Ever’ on HBO

Sally (Catherine Shepherd) is not the star of her own show — or her own life. When we meet her, she’s trudging through a job in marketing (tasked with making eggs “sexy” enough to appeal to teens) and a relationship with a fellow whos…

Sally (Catherine Shepherd) is not the star of her own show — or her own life. When we meet her, she’s trudging through a job in marketing (tasked with making eggs “sexy” enough to appeal to teens) and a relationship with a fellow whose meek submissiveness is portrayed as something almost grotesque. He doesn’t realize, […]

Why ‘American Horror Story’ Should End This Season (Column)

This season has been a snappy, sharp return to form for FX’s “American Horror Story.” Which is exactly why the show should end. It’s nice to go out on a high — and “Apocalypse,” the eighth installment and an imaginative comeback after the shoddily made…

This season has been a snappy, sharp return to form for FX’s “American Horror Story.” Which is exactly why the show should end. It’s nice to go out on a high — and “Apocalypse,” the eighth installment and an imaginative comeback after the shoddily made “Cult” season, is certainly that. But at a moment at […]

TV Review: Michael Douglas in ‘The Kominsky Method’

It’s hard to stay current. That’s one of the points of “The Kominsky Method,” a sitcom starring Michael Douglas as a thespian and acting teacher who’s increasingly confounded by his venal young students. Douglas’ Sandy Kominsky, whose career has shifte…

It’s hard to stay current. That’s one of the points of “The Kominsky Method,” a sitcom starring Michael Douglas as a thespian and acting teacher who’s increasingly confounded by his venal young students. Douglas’ Sandy Kominsky, whose career has shifted from having been left out of Hollywood to being left behind by it, finds himself contemplating […]

HBO’s ‘Axios’ Falls Into the Trump Trap (Column)

Nov. 4 saw the debut of HBO’s four-part series of specials “Axios,” which takes its name from the access-driven website that thrives on scoops delivered with limited adornment. Indeed, the website prides itself on drilling down storie…

Nov. 4 saw the debut of HBO’s four-part series of specials “Axios,” which takes its name from the access-driven website that thrives on scoops delivered with limited adornment. Indeed, the website prides itself on drilling down stories to, effectively, headlines. This all makes for unfortunate timing, as Nov. 6 marks the midterms, a story encompassing […]

The Streaming Era Owes Thanks to ‘House of Cards’ (Column)

It can be hard to recall that when “House of Cards” launched on Netflix, it was one of a kind. After all, the sixth and final season of the political drama is to arrive Nov. 2, along with this week’s flood of streaming content, includ…

It can be hard to recall that when “House of Cards” launched on Netflix, it was one of a kind. After all, the sixth and final season of the political drama is to arrive Nov. 2, along with this week’s flood of streaming content, including the Julia Roberts noir “Homecoming” and a new episode of […]

TV Review: Busy Philipps’ ‘Busy Tonight’

The opening theme song of Busy Philipps’s new E! talk show, “Busy Tonight,” features the actress and host in several low-fi videos of exactly the sort she’s known for posting on Instagram. We see her working out, dancing with a …

The opening theme song of Busy Philipps’s new E! talk show, “Busy Tonight,” features the actress and host in several low-fi videos of exactly the sort she’s known for posting on Instagram. We see her working out, dancing with a friend, and speaking directly to the camera, saying, “Let’s start a campaign for a television show […]

Megyn Kelly’s Blackface Misstep Proves She’s Out of Step With NBC (Column)

In issuing a defense of blackface Tuesday before contritely apologizing on Wednesday, Megyn Kelly learned her hardest lesson yet about how her current job at NBC differs from her old one at Fox News. And while she sought to clean up her own mess, there…

In issuing a defense of blackface Tuesday before contritely apologizing on Wednesday, Megyn Kelly learned her hardest lesson yet about how her current job at NBC differs from her old one at Fox News. And while she sought to clean up her own mess, there remains one question that’s beyond her ken to answer: Just […]

TV Review: ‘House of Cards’ Season 6

A series that was built around the chemistry between two actors — and that had been building toward a climactic showdown — is suddenly a solo act. And while the sixth and final season of “House of Cards” is as mixed a bag as the thrilling but uneven Ne…

A series that was built around the chemistry between two actors — and that had been building toward a climactic showdown — is suddenly a solo act. And while the sixth and final season of “House of Cards” is as mixed a bag as the thrilling but uneven Netflix drama has yet produced, the good news […]

TV Review: ‘Making a Murderer Part 2’

When it landed on Netflix in 2015, the documentary series “Making a Murderer” was a near-instant sensation, with both the internet commentariat and the national media expressing strong views about the case of Steven Avery and his unfortunate nephew, Br…

When it landed on Netflix in 2015, the documentary series “Making a Murderer” was a near-instant sensation, with both the internet commentariat and the national media expressing strong views about the case of Steven Avery and his unfortunate nephew, Brendan Dassey, two Wisconsin men convicted of a 2005 murder. (Opinions diverged, but many viewers seemed […]

TV Review: Peter Dinklage in HBO’s ‘My Dinner With Hervé’

Hervé Villechaize, most familiar for his turn on “Fantasy Island” before his premature death, is an unlikely biopic subject. As the assistant Tattoo on the TV drama, Villechaize was treated as if his short stature made him a supernatural freak. His cul…

Hervé Villechaize, most familiar for his turn on “Fantasy Island” before his premature death, is an unlikely biopic subject. As the assistant Tattoo on the TV drama, Villechaize was treated as if his short stature made him a supernatural freak. His cultural impact has been an accented catchphrase (“De plane!”) and his status as a […]

’60 Minutes’ Was Outmatched by Trump (Column)

On Oct. 14, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired an interview with President Donald Trump — rare for its status as having appeared outside of Fox News or conservative media. Appearing the same weekend as First Lady Melania Trump’s appearanc…

On Oct. 14, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired an interview with President Donald Trump — rare for its status as having appeared outside of Fox News or conservative media. Appearing the same weekend as First Lady Melania Trump’s appearance on “20/20,” this would seem to represent a new level of media blitzing on the part of […]

In Rare TV Interview, Melania Trump Defies Narrative

Something about Melania Trump keeps people hopeful — insistently so, despite so much contrary evidence — that there’s a bigger story at work. Maybe it’s simply her circumstance, existing as the immigrant wife of a President whose misogyny a…

Something about Melania Trump keeps people hopeful — insistently so, despite so much contrary evidence — that there’s a bigger story at work. Maybe it’s simply her circumstance, existing as the immigrant wife of a President whose misogyny and xenophobia are such pronounced parts of his personal brand. Maybe it’s the occasional glimmer of seeming […]

TV Review: ‘Bodyguard’ on Netflix

Earlier this year, the BBC’s “Bodyguard” was a ratings sensation in the United Kingdom, with its finale garnering some 10.4 million viewers, higher ratings than any British broadcast short of the World Cup. As the series arrives state…

Earlier this year, the BBC’s “Bodyguard” was a ratings sensation in the United Kingdom, with its finale garnering some 10.4 million viewers, higher ratings than any British broadcast short of the World Cup. As the series arrives stateside on Netflix, it’s not hard to see why. The thriller star “Game of Thrones” alumnus Richard Madden […]

TV Review: ‘All American’ on the CW

Fittingly for a show about a star football player, the CW’s “All American” comes out of the gate with a degree of hustle that’s startling even by the standards of a network pilot. Within the first few minutes, we’ve learned that Spencer James (th…

Fittingly for a show about a star football player, the CW’s “All American” comes out of the gate with a degree of hustle that’s startling even by the standards of a network pilot. Within the first few minutes, we’ve learned that Spencer James (the appealing and effective Daniel Ezra) tends to win games through his […]

‘The Family Business: Trump and Taxes’ Exposes the Relentless Pace of News (Column)

How long are our attention spans? It’s a question worth asking as the manifold dramas and traumas of the Trump presidency tend to overshadow one another. (Was Donald Trump’s last rally just this week? Was “Fire and Fury” release…

How long are our attention spans? It’s a question worth asking as the manifold dramas and traumas of the Trump presidency tend to overshadow one another. (Was Donald Trump’s last rally just this week? Was “Fire and Fury” released this year? How soon are the midterms, again?) “The Family Business,” a Showtime documentary short broadcast Sunday […]

The Kavanaugh Hearings Were Pitched at One Viewer — Trump (Column)

Say this for Brett Kavanaugh’s performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee: It suited the times. In an era during which all major political news seems to happen on and for TV, the Supreme Court nominee put forward a startling performance of…

Say this for Brett Kavanaugh’s performance before the Senate Judiciary Committee: It suited the times. In an era during which all major political news seems to happen on and for TV, the Supreme Court nominee put forward a startling performance of rage and discontent seemingly intended for an audience of one. The testimonies of both Kavanaugh […]

TV Review: Fox’s ‘The Cool Kids’

Fox has committed perhaps the most baffling bummer of the fall with “The Cool Kids,” a series whose presence on the schedule may be evidence of their desire to stay in business with executive producer Charlie Day (FX’s “It&#8217…

Fox has committed perhaps the most baffling bummer of the fall with “The Cool Kids,” a series whose presence on the schedule may be evidence of their desire to stay in business with executive producer Charlie Day (FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) or of their perennial desire to “shock” through the dullest sort of […]

TV Review: Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Hill House’

The streaming TV players are leaning hard on Halloween this year, with Hulu launching its monthly horror franchise “Into the Dark” Oct. 5 and Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” coming Oct. 26. While “Sabr…

The streaming TV players are leaning hard on Halloween this year, with Hulu launching its monthly horror franchise “Into the Dark” Oct. 5 and Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” coming Oct. 26. While “Sabrina” comes pre-sold to its potential audience, tied in as it is to the “Riverdale” universe both through its source material […]