First episode impressions: ‘American Horror Story: 1984’ (TV review)


merican Horror Story: 1984″ (Wednesdays, FX) is an unapologetic, unfettered case of giving people what they want: A straight-up slasher series in the mode of the “Friday the 13th” films, right down to the summer camp setting. The first of the 10 episodes, “Camp Redwood,” slathers on Eighties trappings like freeze-frames and grainy cinematography. We see the POV of a girl lifting her shirt over her head, and when her vision is cleared, her two kissing friends have been stabbed by a giant knife, their faces pinned together. It’s darkly funny — as is certainly intended by writers Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, in their ninth season helming this repertory anthology series — but it’s also cleverly brutal enough that we know “1984” respects its genre.

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Fall TV 2019: After watching the trailers, I’m bananas for some of these shows, not so much for others (Commentary)


 watched the trailers of some notable fall TV premieres so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the series. All times Eastern:

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‘What We Do in the Shadows’ makes a hilarious transition to the small screen (TV review)


 hadn’t seen the 2014 movie “What We Do in the Shadows,” so I wasn’t sure what to expect going into FX’s spinoff series of the same name, but man, this show is hilarious. Basically, it’s like watching “The Office,” but with vampires.

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John’s top 10 TV shows of 2018


t’s never before been so hard to pick the 10 best shows of the year, as streaming services deliver strong short series on a regular basis, and cable and network TV have mostly kept pace with the quality. Some staple entries have dropped out of my top 10 not because they got worse but simply because they were supplanted. Here are 10 shows worthy of special mention even in this age of Peak TV.

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First episode impressions: ‘Atlanta’ Season 2 (TV review)


his week, “Atlanta” (10 p.m. Eastern Thursdays, FX) began its second season of being about nothing and everything. The episode “Alligator Man” opens with two ATL youths lounging around when one mentions that they can purchase drugs at a local drive-thru restaurant if they ask for the “No. 17.” We assume they are heading there to buy said drugs, only to find they are robbing the place at gunpoint. But the employee working the window is armed, too. Bullets fly, ending with a teen girl – unseen until that point — emerging from the backseat of the youths’ car, screaming. Cue the opening titles.

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First episode impressions: ‘Fargo’ Season 3 (TV review)

After eight long episodes of Noah Hawley’s literally brain-teasing “Legion,” it’s a comparative relief to get back to the familiar footing of his first hit show, “Fargo” (10 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays on FX), which launched its third season with a 90-minute premiere. The “X-Men” spinoff “Legion” asked viewers to follow the pathways of a mutant’s brain, but “Fargo” allows us to kick back and follow the creatively crazy connections between thick-accented folks in the north woods.

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First episode impressions: ‘Atlanta’ (TV review)

I put off sampling the first hour of “Atlanta” (10 p.m. Tuesdays on FX) for a couple weeks because I knew I’d have a tough time watching police beat up an unarmed man, which happens in the second episode of this ultra-realistic half-hour dramedy. Indeed, it is tough to watch, but it’s so artfully staged, and says so much without saying anything (in dialog) that it’s hard to look away from this pitch-perfect show.’

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