Headlines 

Saturday Night Live: Adam Driver hosts a third time and outdoes himself

Show takes on impeachment trial and for the first time in about two years delivers a great cold open Saturday Night Live returns from holiday hiatus with Republican Senators Mitch McConnell (Beck Bennett) and Susan Collins (Cecily Strong) discussing their desire for a fair Alan Dershowitz (former cast member Jon Lovitz). Despite their protestations, he compares Trump to some of his famous former clients: rey Epstein, Claus von Blow. Suddenly, Dershowitz suffers a heart attack and wakes up in Hell, where a star-struck Satan (Kate McKinnon) fawns over him and…

Read More
Headlines 

Aaron Hernandez: how did a $40m NFL star become a convicted killer?

In a Netflix docuseries, the shocking true story of a much-loved athlete convicted of first-degree murder is placed under the microscope Even by the standards of Americas obsession with stories of spectacular falls from grace, the trajectory of Aaron Hernandez, a star New England Patriots football player turned convicted murderer, was particularly steep and unusually compelling a senseless, horrific collapse unfolding in real time. Three years before fake news became an ominous catch-all, Hernandezs summer 2013 arrest for the murder of Odin Lloyd at his mansion in North Attleborough, Massachusetts…

Read More
Headlines 

Streaming: all eyes on the Netflix crown

Apple TV+, Britbox and the long-awaited Disney+ are circling, but one streaming giant continues to reign supreme Last year was transitional for the streaming scene, at least in the UK: the promised avalanche of major new outlets to dent mixed reviews, punched through into public consciousness, while Apples plans to take on Netflix in the prestige film stakes got off to dropped from thewarily regarded in some quarters. Why pay a monthly subscription for the free-to-air content covered by my licence fee, runs the argument not helped by a The…

Read More
Headlines 

The decade that broke me! Could anyone keep up with TV’s golden age?

Forget prestige television the real glory days were back when there was nothing on. No wonder people fib constantly about what they watch. Heres how to do it convincingly Speaking as someone who writes about television for a living, the 2010s have absolutely broken me. It all used to be so simple. There were five channels, three of them good, and you watched whatever they decided to show you. It didnt matter if it was rubbish, either. Soap operas. Game shows. So many documentaries about the British Transport Police youd…

Read More
Headlines 

Moral of the story: 2019’s boldest culture asked what it means to be good

At a time when deceit is trumping decency, artists from Kanye West to Greta Gerwig and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have taken it upon themselves to pose questions about virtue and privilege In Little Women, a haughty publisher dismisses Jo Marchs stories as unfashionable. Morals dont sell nowadays, he tells the aspiring author. People want to be amused, not preached at. Hopefully the statute of limitations has expired on spoiling a 151-year-old story: March an avatar for her creator, Louisa May Alcott proves him wrong. As has Gerwig, reviving Little Women in…

Read More
Headlines 

Clive James remembered by John Simpson

The BBC world affairs editor on a charismatic wit and gifted poet who elevated British life with his televisual panache He came into my life in the same way, I imagine, as he came into everyone elses: with a joke and a certain amount of bounce, but also with a degree of authority that meant you took him seriously, even while you were laughing. Jesus, what do you do here put on Wagner? It was Clives, and my, last year at Cambridge University, and I was living in a medieval…

Read More
Headlines 

El Camino: is the Breaking Bad movie worth the wait? Discuss with spoilers

The long-awaited return of Jesse Pinkman has landed on Netflix, along with some other surprise characters The past weekend saw the much-anticipated release of El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie on Netflix. As we knew from strong reviews, one talking point that keeps popping up is the notion that since it doesnt throw any big twists our way, or even really expand on what we probably surmised at the end of the original series re Jesses fate, the film is somehow unnecessary. Even without diving into a larger discussion about…

Read More
Headlines 

Robert Forster: a coolly charismatic character actor with an intensely sympathetic air

Forster was a performer whose all-American looks could convey a deeper, more complex personality, something Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch picked up on If ever an actor grew into his looks, it was Robert Forster, whose cleancut mainstream handsomeness evolved and cragged up over the forty-odd years of his career in film and TV into something that fascinated audiences and directors alike. He started out looking like Alain Delons roughed-up elder brother; later he came to be a coolly charismatic and distinctive American character actor who lent style and weight…

Read More
Headlines 

All hail Tina Fey: the funniest comic of the 21st century

From skewering Sarah Palin to handing us Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, here are 10 of the SNL legends most hilarious moments A nice girl with an anarchic bent and a tongue as sharp as a boning knife, Saturday Night Live), network comedy (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), while writing Jimmy Fallon, the goofy little brother to her sardonic big sister, then with The 2004 movie, which Fey blithely adapted into Alec Baldwins Jack Donaghy. For Fey at her neurotic, lemon-scented best, try the second-season episode Sandwich Day, which shows her…

Read More
Headlines 

Queen Olivia Colman, an epic budget and a cast of thousands: a year behind the scenes on The Crown

With its 50m budget, army of experts and Oscar-winning Queen, The Crown is gearing up for another blockbuster season Watching a days filming for the new season of The Crown, I had the dizzying impression that organising a shoot of Winston Churchills state funeral must have been only marginally less complex than organising Winston Churchills state funeral. On a sunny September day last year there was a cast of 300, many of them in full military costume, and a crew of 250. The congregation was issued with perfect facsimiles of…

Read More
Headlines 

Four Weddings and a Funeral review is it a remake? I hadn’t noticed

A 10-part series loosely based on the 1994 romcom plays more like an easily digestible greatest hits collection of Working Titles back catalogue In these reboot/remake/remix-heavy times, theres something bizarre and inevitable about Mindy Kaling reworking Four Weddings and a Funeral as a 10-part series for Hulu. Its as MadLibs as anything else weve seen commissioned of late, whether it be a 007-lite action show. It never ends, and its with a certain sense of exhaustion that one approaches another one of these Frankenshows, conjured into being via what sounds…

Read More
Headlines 

John Oliver on impeachment: ‘The case for inaction is starting to get weak’

The Last Week Tonight host made a case for impeaching Trump in the name of equality and fairness under the law On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver discussed the growing calls for impeachment and what it might actually mean for Donald Trump and Democrats. Ever since this president was elected, some people have been dying to see him impeached, sometimes literally, Oliver opened, showing an Inside Edition clip where two old men passed away only after their families told them impeachment had begun. But the question of impeachment hasnt just…

Read More
Headlines 

Stephen Colbert on Ben Carson: Not a rocket scientist, only a brain surgeon

Late-night hosts poked fun at the possibility of the presidents case being seen by Merrick Garland and Ben Carsons Oreo error Late-night hosts focused on Donald Trumps latest failure in court and the prospect of one of his cases being seen by the former supreme court nominee Merrick Garland. Stephen Colbert The Late Show with Stephen Colbert opened with a direct jab at the presidents losing battle with Congress, with the host telling his audience: If you pay attention, you know that Donald Trump and Congress are fighting. I would…

Read More
Headlines 

Stop the nitpicking! This season of Game of Thrones is miraculous

Seeing the fury around The Bells baffles me. Are we watching the same show? Warning: this article contains spoilers. As Kings Landing burned, and characters whose lives weve been following since season one either fled the carnage or became permanent fixtures in it, the only hotter takes than the one Daenerys unleashed on her would-be subjects were those exploding across the internet. Some calmly listed inconsistencies. Others wailed about how this episode or the season thus far had retroactively ruined the show forever, because they didnt quite agree with certain…

Read More
Headlines 

Fifteen minutes of prestige: how Hollywood went long on short content

Short-form content has graduated from YouTube to attracting big stars, big studios and big Hollywood backing. Is watching in snippets the future of TV? State of the Union opens in a bar, where Tom (Chris ODowd) and Louise (Rosamund Pike) hash out an agenda for their marital therapy session over drinks and witty diversions. The two banter and alternately confront and avoid the flailing state of their marriage, before the scene cuts at the therapists door. And by scene, I mean episode. Each instalment of State of the Union, developed…

Read More