If your binge high is over after watching NYPD Blue and now you are chasing that feeling, check out this list of shows.
Jodie Foster and Kali Reis shine as a pair of detectives investigating an increasingly surreal crime.
In Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt mysteries, the title character is a brilliant, eccentric detective haunted by the unsolved disappearance of one of her closest friends. Her cases are vitally recognizable and beautifully surreal. When The Infinite Blacktop, the most recent entry in the series, was released in paperback, Gran held a giveaway, including a copy of the book and some fun feelies. On one of those, a pen, the following was printed: “Open your eyes and learn to see that truth lives in the ether.” In the course of thinking about Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid)’s excellent True Detective: Night Country, it’s a line that’s been on my mind.
It's the end of 2023. In Ennis, Alaska, the eccentric scientists of the Tsalal research station vanish just as the long polar night sets in. Ennis police chief Liz Danvers (Jodie Foster) and detective-turned-trooper Evangeline Navarro (Kali Reis) know that something is not right. Though bitterly estranged, the former partners share a drive to discover what happened at Tsalal and why. Their need to get to the truth only intensifies after the scientists are discovered in a ghastly, bizarre state—a collective corpsicle, all of them nude and visibly terrified. Continue Reading →
The Prime series remains its big, fun, very violent self.
Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), the “has toothbrush, will travel” man, has returned to television and not a moment too soon. Reacher Season 2 is exactly the kind of low-commitment viewing one craves as the year ends and the holidays overtake everyone’s lives. While a large, jolly man busies himself filling many of our stockings, who better to enjoy than a large, angry man knocking bad guys out of their socks? Especially when, like this time, it’s personal!
Reacher and Neagly (Maria Sten, back from Season 1 and fully second on the callsheet this time, thankfully) first met when they were members of the 110, an investigative military police unit. As seen in flashback, the group is the last time Reacher had anything approaching a stable group of friends. In the present day, several team members have gone missing, suggesting that perhaps someone is targeting them. Reacher connects with Neagly and the two join up with the only other two 110 members they can find. O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos) is the unit clown and womanizer turned family man and inside the beltway fixer. Dixon (Serinda Swan) is a forensic accountant/warrior who shares an obvious but unconsummated crush with Reacher. Continue Reading →
The Morning Show
Aaron Sorkin learned the hard way that no one takes TV as seriously as TV people. When he followed up his critically acclaimed The West Wing, a show about the inner workings of the White House, with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip he discovered that you can’t treat everything with the gravity of a cabinet meeting and the wit of a theater major who gets straight Bs. His backstage drama about a fake sketch show pleased no one. When he tried to course correct with The Newsroom he tried to portray the American news media out to be brave warriors for the cause of truth. Both shows have lived rich second lives as meme generators about what Andrew Sarris would call "strained seriousness." Continue Reading →
Seeing creators pull together disparate threads into a cohesive whole can often feel like a magic trick. “Oh, that woman on the train platform was the same one waiting outside the bodega. I get it!” and all that. For the attentive viewer, it can feel like an affirmation of one’s thoughtful focus. For the more casual audience members, it can impress and beguile. Push it too far, though, and one might feel less rewarded and more led by the nose. Full Circle dances on that line before stumbling, too far, into EVERYTHING is connected territory. Thankfully, several strong performances and director Steven Soderbergh’s gift for conveying immediacy through his imagery prove enough to redeem the series’ far too nicely wrapped up with a bow conclusion. Continue Reading →
Master of None
After a four-year absence, Master of None returns to Netflix with a new tone and new focus, but it still grapples with the same emotional beats of the first two seasons. This time around, creator Aziz Ansari focuses his efforts behind the camera, only appearing in two brief cameos in season three’s five-episode arc. Instead, all of the action is focused on Denise (Lena Waithe) and her partner Alicia (Naomi Ackie), who are rusticating in a cottagecore fantasy that not even TikTok could call sustainable. Rather than the buzz of traffic and the cramped quarters of the city, we see Denise and Alicia’s relationship develop against the bucolic splendor of open fields and towering trees. Continue Reading →