To me, as a writer, suddenly you have this canvas, not 22 episodes but 13. That scale just seems to me to be perfect. It’s like a novel.  You can really get the depth of these characters and at the same time keep going. All the reading I grew up with —Dickens, Stevenson — was told in this form so the chance to tell this kind of a historical, supernatural epic drama and not squeeze it into two hours but instead get to unfold it over 13 hours and hopefully, over years to come. That is irresistible.”- creator, Brannon Braga

Salem premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET on WGN.

It’s nearing 20 years since Joel and Ethan Coen’s now classic original 1996 Fargo feature film. 

Ed Bark says the new FX drama of the same title turns out to be a perfect fit as a 10-episode ‘limited series’ that could return for a second season but not with the same mix of characters.

Find out why at TVWW.

nprfreshair:

Fresh Air’s TV critic David Bianculli reviews the new series  Fargo, based on the 1996 Coen Brothers cult classic. Here’s what he says: 

When the news arrives that FX has a new series called Fargo, the expectation is that it will be either a sequel to, or expansion of, that 18-year-old movie. And certainly, the previews have done nothing to discourage that.

But no. The TV version of Fargo tells a completely different story, with completely different characters. Only the snow remains the same. Yet based on the first four episodes, this new Fargo is a worthy companion piece to the film. The Coen brothers are on board as two of the executive producers, so they clearly approve – though that’s pretty much the extent of their involvement. Instead, FX’s Fargo is written and concocted by Noah Hawley, whose previous credits include working on Bones, and not much else. This is his step up to the major leagues – and in his first at-bat in the bigs, he swings hard, and hits a home run.

His Fargo – this first season, anyway – is envisioned as a stand-alone 10-part story. If it continues to a Season 2, it will be with a completely different plot, characters, and cast. That’s the way True Detective launched itself this season on HBO, and you know how brilliantly that turned out. By designing TV shows this way – longer and deeper than a feature film but not running for years – networks can get A-list movie talent to commit, and writers can craft stories with the end in sight from the start.

FX’s Fargo benefits from that, greatly.

Hear the full review HERE.

 

image via FX 

nprfreshair:

This review discusses the plotline of Mad Men, up through the end of Season Six: 

Our TV critic David Bianculli was given the tricky task of reviewing the Season Seven opener of Mad Men, without giving too much away: 

When we last saw Jon Hamm as Madison Avenue advertising genius Don Draper, Draper had stripped off the façade he had worn as protection throughout the series. He confessed to his true past, as a boy raised in a whorehouse — not only to his children, but to his colleagues at work, during a pitch to an advertising client. Immediately, he lost his chance to move to the West Coast office his firm was opening — and there were bound to be other consequences. This final season, it appears, will be all about those consequences.

Don always has been resourceful, and resilient, and those traits are in full display in the season seven opener. His confession last season has altered him — in his behavior as well as his demeanor, he’s a noticeably changed man. You can tell that even from one of the few scenes from Mad Men that reveals no secrets about where the series is going — just that Don is going somewhere, on a plane.

Photo by Michael Yarish/AMC

"The potential for Colbert, who’s such a phenomenal workhorse on his current show, to craft a new show for CBS is enticing, and the unknown factor of what he will bring to the program as himself should generate plenty of publicity. For CBS, the move makes sense. But for Colbert, the transplant could be tricky."

David Bianculli shares his opinion about Stephen Colbert’s new late-night gig on CNN.com

nprfreshair:

Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli reviews Parenthood

It’s not too late to dive into Parenthood for these last two shows of the season — or, after a taste, to do your homework, and start at the beginning, watching them on DVD or streaming video. Just don’t let it escape your notice. Family dramas always have been one of television’s most difficult genres to do properly, without getting too sweet, too overwrought, or much too predictable. Parenthood, like Friday Night Lights, is as good as the family drama genre gets.

image via NBC

Mike Judge’s new series, Silicon Valley HBO, is a cutting send-up of Internet businesses and their captains, and is another winning half-hour comedy for HBO.

Eric Gould says it’s smart, sharply directed and well stocked with a strong ensemble cast. The eight-episode series premieres tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET.

There’s spies among us. Go back in time to the Revolutionary War, to the formation of this country’s first spy ring in AMC’s new 10-episode drama series Turn, premiering tonight at 9 p.m. ET 

Donna J. Plesh reviews the new series at TVWW.

"Today’s late-night TV is about bite-size bits. Letterman liked to serve multicourse meals."

nprfreshair:

Our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the season openers of Game of Thrones, Veep, and the new series Silicon Valley:

HBO presents three series Sunday night – the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep, and the start of a new comedy, Silicon Valley.  But whether they’re set in mythical kingdoms, Washington, D.C. or Northern California, these three very different shows have two things in common. One is that they’re all entertaining, with characters that get more interesting the more you watch them. The other is that, bottom line, they’re all about power struggles.

Hear the full review here. 
Bianculli is the founder and editor of tvworthwatching
nprfreshair:

Our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the season openers of Game of Thrones, Veep, and the new series Silicon Valley:

HBO presents three series Sunday night – the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep, and the start of a new comedy, Silicon Valley.  But whether they’re set in mythical kingdoms, Washington, D.C. or Northern California, these three very different shows have two things in common. One is that they’re all entertaining, with characters that get more interesting the more you watch them. The other is that, bottom line, they’re all about power struggles.

Hear the full review here. 
Bianculli is the founder and editor of tvworthwatching
nprfreshair:

Our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the season openers of Game of Thrones, Veep, and the new series Silicon Valley:

HBO presents three series Sunday night – the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep, and the start of a new comedy, Silicon Valley.  But whether they’re set in mythical kingdoms, Washington, D.C. or Northern California, these three very different shows have two things in common. One is that they’re all entertaining, with characters that get more interesting the more you watch them. The other is that, bottom line, they’re all about power struggles.

Hear the full review here. 
Bianculli is the founder and editor of tvworthwatching

nprfreshair:

Our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the season openers of Game of Thrones, Veep, and the new series Silicon Valley:

HBO presents three series Sunday night – the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep, and the start of a new comedy, Silicon Valley.  But whether they’re set in mythical kingdoms, Washington, D.C. or Northern California, these three very different shows have two things in common. One is that they’re all entertaining, with characters that get more interesting the more you watch them. The other is that, bottom line, they’re all about power struggles.

Hear the full review here

Bianculli is the founder and editor of tvworthwatching