Friday, December 11, 2015
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Things go great until they don't on "Halt and Catch Fire," with every new gain paired with a major emotional setback or caveat that undermines key relationships on the show. We saw that last week when Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna (Kerry Bishe) came together again after the former's so…

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Trust and teamwork are at the center of this week's "Halt and Catch Fire," the best episode so far of what's already a strong season. Earlier episodes have furthered ideas of where our heroes have stood since the end of last season — Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna (Kerry Bishe) as a gra…

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The story of Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) grows increasingly fraught and sad on "Halt and Catch Fire," a series filled with hard-won optimism and looks to the future. Seduced and abandoned, so to speak, by Joe McMillan (Lee Pace), ripped off, suffering from severe brain damage, marginalized …

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"They All Laughed," croons John Bosworth (Toby Huss) imitating Frank Sinatra as a way to entertain online game company Mutiny's employees and magazine profiler while Donna (Kerry Bishe) and Gordon (Scoot McNairy) try to fix a bug. Donna, Gordon and Mutiny founder Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) ha…

Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Monday, July 18, 2016

If the first episode of "The Night Of" spent most of its time setting up the shy, frightened Nasir "Naz" Khan (Riz Ahmed) and the nightmare he was about to live, the second episode gives us more information about the slow, grinding, unforgiving nature of the criminal justice system and the t…

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

"Casualty" is one of "Unreal's" was one of the show's most frustrating episodes, not the least because it's dealing with territory that the show likely would have nailed last year. Season 2 has hit the sophomore slump, with the writers losing track of the show-within-a-show and the character…

Monday, July 11, 2016

Though "The Night Of's" first episode takes its time setting up the crime that the whole show will pivot on in excruciating detail, much of what dooms college student Nasir "Naz" Khan (Riz Ahmed) happens in the quickest-moving, most concentrated section of the episode. Naz has spent the nigh…

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

I'm becoming less convinced that the writers on "Unreal" know what they're doing this season. I've been more positive on the first four episodes than many — they've been a bit more herky-jerky on a basic plotting level than anything last season, but I've enjoyed how it had its characters dan…

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Near the end of "Treason," this week's episode of "Unreal," London (Sunita Prasad), the Muslim contestant who was goaded by Madison (Genevieve Buechner) into drinking for the first time, is booted off the show, and she flies into righteous anger at how she was exploited ("I'm just a drunk Mu…

Monday, June 27, 2016

"Silicon Valley" season 3 has seen the Pied Piper crew wriggling out from under one Sword of Damocles and under another, from the nightmare of Richard (Thomas Middleditch) being ousted as CEO to Jack Barker's (Stephen Tobolowsky) reign of terror, from Erlich's (T.J. Miller) financial ruin ne…

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"Unreal" simultaneously satirizes reality TV tropes while showing how the sausage is made and reveling in every ugly bit of it, and what we've seen the most over the show's first season and chance is how its producers play with and undermine trust. That's front and center in "Guerrilla," in …

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you build it they will come...unless they don't understand what the hell it is. That's a problem that the Pied Piper team has had this season on "Silicon Valley," from Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky) insisting that the platform was too complicated for his salespeople to sell to the news …

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

There's a principle of organized chaos behind a lot of reality TV — stick diametrically opposed worldviews or personalities into a room together and watch them go at each other, making life a living hell for everyone around them but heaven for the show's creators, who expertly manipulate the…

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Silicon Valley" isn't the most touchy-feely show around, nor have Mike Judge series or films ever been particularly sentimental. But Judge's work has a hidden streak of admiration, even warmth beneath the smart-alecky attitude and enjoyment in watching a bunch of knuckleheads screw things u…

Thursday, June 09, 2016

If past seasons of "The Americans" have focused to a large degree on marriage and the cost of raising a family, season 4 moves it closer to a larger look at family, at what it means to have someone to depend on and to be dependent, and at the difficulties that come with it...especially if yo…

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Power brings out the worst in people, something TV has spent the past decade exploring. Whether it's Walter White discovering the monster beneath the mild-mannered man in "Breaking Bad" or Joffrey Baratheon finding new and increasingly grotesque ways to be awful on "Game of Thrones," we've s…

Monday, June 06, 2016

Mike Judge has never been one for sentimentality, exactly, but his works have all had key moments stressing the importance of friendship. Peter from "Office Space" had Michael and Samir, Hank Hill had his family and the neighborhood dudes, even Beavis had Butt-Head to snicker at MTV videos w…

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Inevitably, every season of "The Americans" has moments where the characters' choices are limited to two: do something incredibly dangerous or face certain doom. Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Paige (Holly Taylor) had a moment in last week's episode's final scene, in which Elizabeth, confronte…

Thursday, May 26, 2016

More than ever, this season of "The Americans" is playing with the strong possibility of guilt in the life of a spy, particularly someone like Philip (Matthew Rhys) or Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell). The two are at least partially responsible for the deaths of several people who trusted t…

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

I had my doubts about "The Night Manager" from the beginning. I'm not a fan of director Susanne Bier, whose leaden, nuance-free direction I sat through for "After the Wedding" and "In a Better World." I was doubly suspicious of her taking on a sensibility as grey as John le Carre's, and the …

Monday, May 23, 2016

So we're back to square one...again. Last night's episode of "Silicon Valley" was reliably funny, but it's also the first time in the season I've been unsure of where it was heading and why. Most of the bits work individually, but the choice to bring everything back to Erlich's incubator doe…

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) is the True Believer. We've known this from the first season of "The Americans," which showed her as the more fervent partner in the husband-wife undercover KGB unit. But even Elizabeth has her limits, as we saw in last night's episode, "Munchkins." Elizabet…

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"The Night Manager" is a week away from wrapping up, and I still have no idea what, if any, perspective director Susanne Bier and writer David Farr have brought to their John le Carre adaptation. Five episodes in, Richard Roper (Hugh Laurie) remains a darkly droll big bad, Jonathan Pine/"And…

Monday, May 16, 2016

Inspiration can come from any number of places, but on "Silicon Valley," it comes from a combination of ingenuity, sheer dumb luck after being backed into a corner, and base instincts from a bunch of ambitious, smart young men who are nevertheless a bunch of immature knuckleheads. This is th…

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The whole world is on the brink of mutually assured destruction, as far as anyone knows. All it takes to wipe out both of the world's great superpowers is one mistake, something that was at least in the back of everyone's minds on "The Americans" but comes to the forefront in "The Day After,…

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"The Night Manager's" greatest weakness is that it doesn't seem to have all that much interest in who Jonathan Pine (Tom Hiddleston), now going by "Andrew Birch," actually is. He's less a character than an all-purpose plot device, a way to learn more about Richard Roper's (Hugh Laurie) evil …

Monday, May 09, 2016

Few things are funnier to me than a huge build-up to something big that's immediately squelched. It's why I laugh at the scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when Indy shoots a guy who introduces himself as if they're going to have a long swordfight, and it's why I laughed at the scene in last…

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Two quotes echoed in my head throughout last night's episode of "The Americans." The first, from Martha (Alison Wright) to Philip (Matthew Rhys, who directed this episode), was "Don't be alone," a wish for the man she loves to find someone to hold onto, a wish he returns to a rueful laugh an…