Storytelling with soul: The 20 best ‘Angel’ episodes (TV commentary)


hen “Angel” premiered on Oct. 5, 1999, with “City of,” it was nominally a darker, more adult show than “Buffy,” its parent series and Tuesday night lead-in on The WB. But today, at the tail end of a decade of grim television (“prestige” though it may be), it’s notable how many smiles and laughs are to be found in even the most heart-wrenching hours of “Angel.”

Continue reading “Storytelling with soul: The 20 best ‘Angel’ episodes (TV commentary)”

All 21 episodes of ‘Roswell’ Season 2 (2000-01), ranked (TV review)


istakenly, I had it my head that Max and Liz – aside from a few brief stretches where they are apart — are a couple throughout the three-season run of “Roswell.” On this rewatch, I was surprised to realize they are split up through the entire 21-episode run of Season 2 (2000-01, WB). Yet this season illustrates why I had the mistaken impression, and why “Roswell” is a special show.

Continue reading “All 21 episodes of ‘Roswell’ Season 2 (2000-01), ranked (TV review)”

All 22 episodes of ‘Roswell’ Season 1 (1999-2000), ranked (TV review)


oswell’s” Max and Liz are my favorite TV couple of the “meant to be together” type. There’s admittedly something fantastical, idealistic and possibly even unhealthy about fixating on this type of love. But it’s so beautifully portrayed thanks to the chemistry between shy starman Max (Jason Behr) and journal-writing girl-next-door Liz (Shiri Appleby) that I allow myself this one diversion into the idea of soulmates.

Continue reading “All 22 episodes of ‘Roswell’ Season 1 (1999-2000), ranked (TV review)”

10 shows featuring today’s biggest stars … that you can never watch again (TV commentary)


t’s not as bad as the case of the old “Doctor Who” episodes that were intentionally destroyed after their broadcast, but in this age where it’s easy for a streaming service to make something available to its subscribers, there are still a lot of TV shows you simply can’t see.

Continue reading “10 shows featuring today’s biggest stars … that you can never watch again (TV commentary)”

‘The Bedford Diaries’ reviews

WB publicity photo

John’s “The Bedford Diaries” flashback review,, Sept. 26, 2016


“The Bedford Diaries” (2006, WB) – It was about a college course on human sexuality, but with Tom Fontana producing, it wasn’t as one-note as the premise sounded. It had likable characters (you gotta dig snappy Milo Ventimiglia as the newspaper editor) and a way into their heads: The students analyze their own behavior on video. “Bedford” started airing after the announcement that The WB would merge with UPN to become The CW, and we all knew this quiet gem wouldn’t make the cut. I’ll still miss it.

– John Hansen, “Five shows that’ll be missed,” Brainerd Dispatch, May 25, 2006

‘Jack & Bobby’ review

WB publicity photo

“Jack & Bobby” Season 1 (2004-05, WB), episodes 1-7 – “Jack & Bobby’s” mother (Christine Lahti) is a living, breathing stereotype of a liberal college professor who feels out of sorts in Small Town, Missouri. In the show’s second episode, she invites students to smoke marijuana and open their minds in her living room, which is littered with Kerry-Edwards placards. Bobby (Logan Lerman), the show’s future-president-as-a-young-man, wears about 30 Kerry-Edwards pins on his T-shirt.

Continue reading “‘Jack & Bobby’ review”

‘Gilmore Girls’ Season 5 reviews

John’s “Gilmore Girls” Season 5 flashback review,, Sept. 17, 2014


“Gilmore Girls” Season 5 (2004-05, WB) – I can’t say Rory was entirely likable this season, but I did enjoy seeing the junior Gilmore girl squirm during the first day of her newspaper internship. No writing staff does “awkward” better. And the last 10 minutes of the season finale was both awe-inspiring and “aww”-inspiring. I loved how director Amy Sherman-Palladino lingered on Lauren Graham’s uncharacteristically speechless face at two key moments: First, when her parents wrest Rory from her; second, when she listens to Luke’s rant, inspiring the best “Will you marry me?” in recent TV memory.

– John Hansen, “Long live TV’s Fab Four,” Brainerd Dispatch, June 2, 2005