Catching up with ‘Westworld’ Season 1

When I got a few months of free HBO with my new Dish Network subscription, the first show I programmed into my DVR was "Westworld," which launched with a 10-episode season in 2016 (and will return next year). Evan Rachel Wood ("Once and Again") and the universally great reviews from critics and fans (9.0 on IMDB) drew me in, the entertainment value kept me there, and the non-cliched way it delves into the oldest sci-fi theme ("What defines humanity?") has me still thinking about it.

[More]

TV shows lost to history: ‘Cupid’ (1998-99)

When I think of Rob Thomas' TV shows, "Veronica Mars" and "iZombie" immediately spring to mind, but that leaves out what might be his best show: "Cupid" (1998-99, ABC). Remarkable for Thomas' first creator/executive producer credit, this 14-episode series (plus one never-aired episode) deserves a spot on the short list of great TV shows about romance, and unfortunately it's also on the short list of shows that are heartbreakingly lost to history.

[More]

TV shows lost to history: ‘FreakyLinks’ (2000-01)

"FreakyLinks" (2000-01, Fox) was neither great nor terrible, but it has an important place in television history, which is why it's a shame it hasn't been preserved on DVD. (It has been rerun on Chiller, but not regularly enough to break out of the "lost to history" label.) The first faux-found-footage series in TV history, it exists entirely because of the success of the surprise 1999 movie hit "The Blair Witch Project."

[More]

TV shows lost to history: ‘Miss Match’ (2003)

"Miss Match" (2003, NBC) ranks toward the top of the list of shows that were destined to be sure-fire hits yet somehow weren't. Alicia Silverstone was Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV Preview cover girl, the show was the magazine's pick for Best New Drama ("Arrested Development" was the Best New Comedy, if you're curious) and it was the only scripted show specifically about romance on TV that season.

[More]

TV shows lost to history: ‘Young Americans’ (2000)

Perhaps more so than any other TV show lost to history, "Young Americans" (2000, The WB) benefits from a rewatch. Although I watched the whole eight-episode run in the summer of 2000, I never embraced it.

[More]

The ‘Kolchak’-‘X-Files’ connection: Just how similar are these two shows?

Today, it's impossible to talk about "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" (1974-75, following TV movies in 1972 and 1973) without talking about "The X-Files" (1993-present). While this annoys some "Kolchak" fans, they have to admit that "The X-Files" has helped keep the "Kolchak" cult afloat – indeed, "The X-Files" is mentioned in the first sentence on the back of the "Kolchak" DVD collection.

[More]

One-season wonders: ‘Kolchak: The Night Stalker’ (1974-75) and the TV movies (1972-73)

Like most people who weren't around when it was on the air, I was inspired to check out "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" (1974-75) – and its preceding TV movies, "The Night Stalker" (1972) and "The Night Strangler" (1973) – because I'm an "X-Files" fan. "Kolchak" is often cited as the biggest inspiration and influence behind Chris Carter's landmark show.

[More]

First episode impressions: ‘The Mist’

Anyone who has driven through a thick Atlantic Coast fog that limits vision to 5 feet in front of your car knows that few experiences are tenser – especially if you're not familiar with the area. Therefore, "The Mist" (10 p.m. Eastern Thursdays on Spike) – a TV series that follows in the tradition of the Stephen King short story (1980) and the movie (2007) – should theoretically be scary. But it makes the weird decision to create fairly safe environments in the first three episodes (which can be streamed at spike.com).

[More]

First episode impressions: ‘Blood Drive’

"Grindhouse" was among my favorite films of 2007 and "Machete" was my No. 1 movie three years later. Although I am almost totally ignorant of 1970s grindhouse cinema, those films were cheap, dirty, gory, ridiculous, lowest-common-denominator fun. But could such a purposely silly genre work as a TV show, artistically or commercially? Time will tell on the second point, but after one episode, "Blood Drive" (10 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays on SyFy) seems primed to go the distance.

[More]

Watching and reviewing the classics: ‘Family’ Season 1 (1976)

Any discussion of the continuum of family dramas in TV history has to include the aptly named 1970s series "Family." Although the premise is simple – it's about a family of five in Pasadena – a quick investigation into the show's genesis suggests it was original at the time: Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg came up with the idea of an hour-long drama centered on the emotional life of a family, then playwright Jay Presson Allen wrote the pilot episode and Mike Nichols ("The Graduate") also joined the team.

[More]

More Entries