Search Party (TBS)

It’s rare to encounter a TV series that could accurately be described as a satire, much less an unsparing one, but Search Party absolutely qualifies. It’s a detective story about people trying to get to the bottom of a young woman’s disappearance, but that’s just what’s happening on the surface. The mystery is the gimmick […]

The Get Down (Netflix)

“Unfold your own myth,” blares a graffiti tag on the skin of a subway car in The Get Down. Baz Luhrmann and Stephen Adly Guirgis’s 1970s musical melodrama about the birth of hip-hop and the fall of dirty-glorious Gotham is forever characterizing itself this way: like a rapper nimbly reframing a story as he tells […]

Michael McKean in Better Call Saul (AMC)

Better Call Saul, Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould’s improbably just-as-good prequel to Breaking Bad, is a showcase for ace character actors, none as sneakily great as Michael McKean, who costars as the slippery hero’s straight-arrow older brother, Chuck McGill. Chuck is a feared trial lawyer at a top Albuquerque, New Mexico law firm who claims […]

Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet in Brockmire (IFC)

Although he’s perhaps best known as one of the versatile repertory actors on The Simpsons, Hank Azaria is also a formidable live-action performer who can adjust his body to suit the needs of a role as deftly as he can his voice. Jim Brockmire, a minor-league sportscaster struggling with alcoholism and his own monstrous ego, gives […]

The Evolution of TV Criticism

Much of early television was, to quote Edward R. Murrow’s exhausted call for substance in TV journalism, little more than lights and wires in a box. And TV criticism was a similarly disreputable arm of print journalism, the job you took if no other discipline would tolerate you.  It consisted largely of rote descriptions of what […]

Vanguard Award: David Chase (The Sopranos)

THIS SHOW HAS GONE RUSH.  A limited number of tickets may be released 15 minutes before showtime on a first come, first served basis at the theater venue. Rush lines form one hour before showtime at IFC Center. David Chase’s gangster series shattered the industry’s preconceptions and showed what TV drama could be. Part crime […]

Difficult People (Hulu)

Julie Klausner’s series about brilliant, acerbic, self-defeating best buds on the fringes of stardom is tailor-made for the YouTube era, when artists and entertainers act as their own agents, publicists and managers and watch their colleagues’ successes and failures unfold in real time, with envy or glee, depending. Julie (Klausner) and Billy (Billy Eichner) keep […]