Fond farewell: ‘Fringe’ (TV review)

To me, one of the most exciting things about the end of “Fringe” is that I can now look forward to rewatching the show on DVD someday. For five seasons, I watched every episode as it aired on Fox, but I’ve found that people who watched it in large chunks on DVD embraced it more than me. Ironically, like a lot of complex TV shows (“Lost” being another prime example), “Fringe” didn’t play as well with the weeklong gaps.

Continue reading “Fond farewell: ‘Fringe’ (TV review)”

Fall TV 2012: New shows a huge letdown, but returning faves still deliver appointment television (Commentary)

Two years ago, I labeled Fall 2010 as the worst batch of new shows ever. The highlights were “Law & Order: Los Angeles,” which was hardly a new concept; “No Ordinary Family,” which was throwaway fun; and “The Walking Dead,” which wasn’t the show then that it is now.

Continue reading “Fall TV 2012: New shows a huge letdown, but returning faves still deliver appointment television (Commentary)”

War — what is it good for? A few good plots, at least (TV commentary)

We’re in a curious situation right now where 94 percent of the country supports pro-war presidential candidates yet other polls show that the majority of people are against war (although most of Congress is pro-war). Of course, war is a complicated issue, and I don’t pretend to understand all of it (although I certainly respect soldiers’ views, which tend to lean anti-war, in my experience). But because of the mainstream media’s focus on the two major parties, the raw fact of our involvement in the Middle East is generally not questioned — rather, the questions are about the details of how to conduct the wars.

Continue reading “War — what is it good for? A few good plots, at least (TV commentary)”

First episode impressions: ‘Fringe’ Season 5 (TV review)

In the early days of TV, every episode was a standalone, so if you missed an episode you wouldn’t get lost. Eventually, we started to see more serial TV with ongoing stories that rewarded regular viewers. “Fringe” (8 p.m. Central Fridays, Fox), now in its fifth and final season, is the next iteration: I’ve seen every episode, yet I feel like I’ve missed several.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Fringe’ Season 5 (TV review)”

Fall TV: 5 new shows and 5 returning shows to watch (Commentary)

Ah, fall TV. And, in a nice old-school twist, the Entertainment Weekly Fall TV Preview issue highlighted a single show on its cover rather than using a collage (the featured show: “Homeland,” which seems worthy, although I’ve never seen it). The fall lineup isn’t particularly deep this year, but it’s pretty respectable at the top. I’ve picked out five new shows to watch and five returning shows I’m excited about (“Parenthood” returns tonight!). All times are Central.

Continue reading “Fall TV: 5 new shows and 5 returning shows to watch (Commentary)”

5 buzzworthy season finales (TV commentary)

It’s that time of year when summer movies start to steal the headlines from TV, but boob-tube fans have one last gasp, at least: The May season finales. Due to the evolving TV calendar, it’s not as jam-packed of a month as it used to be; “Parenthood,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” “Ringer” and “The Walking Dead” had their finales in previous months, while “The Killing” and “The L.A. Complex” will run well into the summer.

Continue reading “5 buzzworthy season finales (TV commentary)”

What happened to ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Sophia? (and 6 other burning TV questions) (Commentary)

Part of why it’s been a great TV season is that there are so many compelling questions that keep us watching from week to week. And these aren’t just a matter of “Oh well, I’ve followed it this far so I might as well keep going” like I sometimes felt with “Lost.” A lot of shows this fall actually have mysteries where I want to know the answer. Here are seven of the most burning questions among currently airing shows (No, I haven’t forgotten about “Who killed Rosie Larsen?,” but I’ll save that for when “The Killing” returns). (All times Central.)

Continue reading “What happened to ‘The Walking Dead’s’ Sophia? (and 6 other burning TV questions) (Commentary)”

First episode impressions: ‘Fringe’ Season 4 (TV review)

Most shows are naturally constrained by their narrative — sort of like a choose-your-own-adventure book where every choice is locked in once it happens. But at the staff meetings for “Fringe” (8 p.m. Central Fridays on Fox), I imagine that if a writer says “What if this were to happen?,” he never hears “Oh, that can’t happen” as a response.

Continue reading “First episode impressions: ‘Fringe’ Season 4 (TV review)”

Fall TV: 6 new shows and 6 returning shows to watch (Commentary)

Believe it or not, the fall TV season is less than a week away. Fittingly, one of the best-looking new shows and one of the best returning shows will throw out the first pitches of the season when they premiere on Tuesday. Here’s a closer look at those shows and more — my top six new shows and top six returning shows of Fall 2011. (Showing my non-coast bias, all times are Central.)

Continue reading “Fall TV: 6 new shows and 6 returning shows to watch (Commentary)”