<p>American Horror Story, Fargo, You&#39;re the Worst, The People v. O.J. Simpson, and The Americans</p>

American Horror Story, Fargo, You're the Worst, The People v. O.J. Simpson, and The Americans

Credit: FX

How FX became TV's best, most reliable network

The home of 'The Americans, 'Fargo,' and 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' is riding an incredible hot streak

It was early in the development of The Americans that the head of FX told the show’s creator what his series was really about — and was absolutely right.

Read Full Post
<p>Halt and Catch Fire</p>

Halt and Catch Fire

Credit: AMC

'Halt and Catch Fire's characters try to recapture their pasts in 'Yerba Buena'

A thematically tight episode set on a long holiday weekend

A few thoughts on tonight's Halt and Catch Fire coming up just as soon as the baby's first word is "barbecue"...

Read Full Post
<p>Game of Thrones, Fargo, and The Americans</p>

Game of Thrones, Fargo, and The Americans

Credit: HBO/FX

'Game of Thrones' vs. 'Americans,' 'Fargo' vs. 'O.J.': Who should win Emmys?

Trying to make picks ahead of this Sunday's awards

Over the weekend, the Television Academy handed out the Creative Arts Emmys — i.e., the awards not quite glamorous to be squeezed into this coming Sunday's 68th Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on ABC. Lots of interesting things happened, including Game of Thrones picking up 9 awards (the Creative Arts includes most of the technical categories), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend sharing an award of choreography but losing both song categories for which it was eligible (to Diane Warren's song from The Hunting Ground and the Jessica Jones theme music), and more.

Read Full Post
<p>Masters of Sex</p>

Masters of Sex

Credit: Showtime

The 'Masters of Sex' premiere tried to fix many of its problems. Is it too late?

A less controlling, more humbled Bill Masters, but has the damage already been done?

A review of the Masters of Sex season 4 premiere coming up just as soon as I want to make love to a shoe...

Read Full Post
Ask Alan: Would 'Stranger Things' be as popular if it was on Amazon, not Netflix?

Ask Alan: Would 'Stranger Things' be as popular if it was on Amazon, not Netflix?

When is it right to review a foreign TV series? And what pre-existing songs are now inseparable from TV shows that used them as theme songs?

Happy Friday, everybody! Summer is essentially over, so Ask Alan is back on a weekly Friday schedule for a while.

Read Full Post


Credit: Cinemax

Review: Cinemax goes back to the '70s for the super-pulpy 'Quarry'

A show that, like 'Boardwalk Empire,' should probably have a different lead character, but works anyway

I used to keep a tally of what I referred to as "doughnut shows," which were empty in the middle, thanks to a boring main character, but delicious on the outside. But in a recent conversation with my pal Maureen Ryan, as I listed some examples of that phenomenon — your Once and Agains, your Huffs — she pointed out that I had the food metaphor all wrong. These were not doughnut shows, she pointed out, because while the main characters were less exciting than the second bananas, they also weren't completely without value in their own right.

Read Full Post
<p>Pamela Adlon in Better Things</p>

Pamela Adlon in Better Things

Credit: FX

'Better Things' star Pamela Adlon on child acting, androgyny, and Bobby Hill

A look back with the 'King of the Hill' alum and Louis C.K. collaborator

I really like Better Things, FX's new comedy starring and produced by Pamela Adlon, who was Louis C.K.'s frequent on- and off-screen collaborator on Louie. (Here's my review from yesterday.) The show is deeply autobiographical, with Adlon playing a thinly-disguised version of herself: a single mom to three daughters, and a former child actress still plugging away in show business (finding more success in voiceover work than on camera) decades later.

Read Full Post
<p>Mr. Robot</p>

Mr. Robot

Credit: USA

Review: 'Mr. Robot's shortest episode of the season is also its most suspenseful

Less is more in the taut 'Hidden Process'

A review of tonight's Mr. Robot coming up just as soon as I give Africa to the Chinese...

Read Full Post
<p>Samira Wiley on You&#39;re the Worst</p>

Samira Wiley on You're the Worst

Credit: FXX

Review: On 'You're the Worst,' Gretchen asks Samira Wiley to 'Fix Me, Dummy'

An 'Orange Is the New Black' alum finds a welcome new comedy home

A few thoughts on tonight's You're the Worst coming up just as soon as I regret giving you license to say anything...

Read Full Post
<p>Pamela Adlon in Better Things, and Tig Notaro in One Mississippi</p>

Pamela Adlon in Better Things, and Tig Notaro in One Mississippi

Credit: FX/Amazon

Review: 'Better Things' & 'One Mississippi' show power of autobiographical comedy

Pamela Adlon and Tig Notaro create and star in shows that could fill the 'Louie'-shaped hole in your TV-viewing heart

Comedy doesn't have to be autobiographical, but it can help a lot. Whether in sitcom plots or stand-up routines, specificity makes everything better, and it's hard to get more specific than drawing details the writers know by heart because they've lived them. Many of TV's greatest comedies were heavily based on the experiences of their creators and/or stars, from The Dick Van Dyke Show — where Carl Reiner would famously begin each Monday by asking his writers to recount what they did with their spouses and kids over the weekend — to Roseanne, Seinfeld (and, thus, Curb Your Enthusiasm), Everybody Loves Raymond, and recent shows like black-ish.

Read Full Post