A quick review of tonight's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" coming up just as soon as my childhood home has been replaced by a denim pants store...
At the end of my review of "The Leftovers" season 2, I noted that the show had gotten rid of its overwrought main title sequence in favor of a new one that did away with the religious imagery in favor of a more mundane yet eerie way of explaining the experience of a world where two percent of the population just vanished one day. Here it is, set to Iris DeMent's "Let the Mystery Be":
It's no secret that TV critics talk among themselves about screeners they've watched. We love discussing television — it's the reason we got into this job in the first place — and before a show has actually premiered, the only people we can discuss it with is each other. So we email, or DM, or GChat, or actually have an audible conversation with one another, and sometimes discover that there's a consensus about a show being good or bad, sometimes learn that we're a lone voice in the wilderness, and sometimes learn that there's a very sharp split in the community.
The new season of "Homeland" (it returns Sunday at 9 on Showtime) seems to be one of the latter. You won't find many reviewers suggesting the show is stronger than ever — like virtually every Showtime drama, this is one that would have been better off ending after a season or two — but based on the three episodes sent to critics, there's a clear divide over what kind of show we'd like "Homeland" to be as it rumbles through middle age.
Somehow, in a TV landscape where every cable channel, streaming service, gaming platform, and smart watch has to develop at least one grim and gritty drama series, the darkest show on television isn't "The Leftovers" or even "The Walking Dead," but a silly, if stunningly committed, Comedy Central half-hour called "Review."
Well, folks, this is it: the series finale of the Firewall & Iceberg Podcast. Dan and I spent 90 minutes reviewing shows both good and bad, and answering lots of your questions about the 300-plus episodes of our fine endeavor together.
A quick review of tonight's "You're the Worst" coming up just as soon as I stop you from investing in Sufjan Stevens' broth restaurant...
In an upcoming episode of "The Leftovers," a book publisher considers a manuscript one of the HBO drama's main characters has written about the violent, unsettling events viewers saw last season.
"There's some heartbreaking stuff in here," the publisher acknowledges, but he feels the writing is too dry, even as it recounts stories of death, loss, heartache, and all the complications of living in a world where, a few years earlier, two percent of the world's population vanished into thin air under circumstances that have baffled modern science and organized religion.
"If you want them to connect with it," he tells his prospective author, "you have to tell them how it felt."
Before she signed onto Showtime's "The Affair," Maura Tierney had done practically everything it's possible for an actor to do in television. Her first regular series role (on "The Van Dyke Show") was opposite no less than Dick Van Dyke; her second ("704 Hauser") was working for Norman Lear, on the same set where "All in the Family" took place. She's been the leading woman on a classic (if underappreciated in its time) sitcom in "NewsRadio," helped carry an enormous hit drama ("ER") as it transitioned away from its original cast, been the lead on a legal procedural ("The Whole Truth"), and was one of the original stars of "Parenthood" before a bout with breast cancer forced her to drop out of the role of Sarah Braverman.