Television

Five Came Back

“Five Came Back” is a new Netflix series exploring the World War II films made by five key Hollywood directors, as told by the top directors of today. It shows what John Ford, Frank Capra, William Wyler, John Huston and …Read More

Becoming Warren Buffett

HBO has just released a 90-minute documentary about Warren Buffett that has more personal information than I’ve really found in the many books I’ve read about him. They were able to have him, Munger, his children, Bill and Melinda Gates …Read More

Sherlock

Season Four of the Beeb’s “Sherlock” disappoints. In Hollywood-speak, they “jumped the shark” — a reference to the episode of Happy Days in which the Fonz literally jumped over a shark. That episode marked the decline and fall of that …Read More

Mozart in the Jungle

Amazon delivered its Christmas present to classical music lovers early, releasing all 10 episodes of the third season of “Mozart in the Jungle” on December 9. For those of us who usually sit in the audience, it is a guilty …Read More

Stranger Things

Netflix has taken over television. Yes, that mail DVD and streaming service is now producing some of the best original programming one can find. This summer’s sleeper hit, “Stranger Things,” is an excellent addition to the Netflix canon. The show, …Read More

Stranger Things

When Netflix released “Stranger Things” over this past summer, it was an instant success for the creators and television newbies, Matt and Ross Duffer. The accolades came with good reason, as The Duffer Brothers, as they are known, successfully wrote …Read More

Grantchester

I have fallen in love with an Anglican priest named Sidney Chambers, played by the captivating red-haired James Norton. Sadly, the second season has ended, but a third is promised, and you can watch it on DVD. Chambers, the vicar …Read More

Happy Valley

Another appealing series from the UK is “Happy Valley.” Set in an amazingly remote area of west Yorkshire nestled between the densely populated areas of Leeds-Bradford and Manchester, in the towns and villages of Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Heptonstall, places …Read More

Foyle’s War

τηνελλα! The august VDP has finally condescended to review TV shows! Well, for those who are prepared to go beyond the Wires, the Cards, the Breakings, the Billions, and the Luthers, there is a very fine ITV series called “Foyle’s War,” …Read More

Eurovision 2016

Each spring Europe comes together in the campy bacchanal that is the Eurovision Song Contest. For those who have never heard of Eurovision, let this superfan provide some background. Eurovision was started in 1956 as a means of reunifying the …Read More

The Night Manager

“The Night Manager” is a brilliant take off on one of John Le Carré’s later books with a new twist. Le Carré, a former British agent himself, knows where the bodies are buried, and the bodies accumulate along the way. …Read More

Catastrophe

I am a season behind in this Amazon Prime program, but “Catastrophe” is a biting comedy that I cannot get enough of. First aired in the UK, the show is about an Irish woman (Sharon Horgan), living in London who …Read More

The Night Manager

AMC’s new six-part adaptation of John Le Carre’s book is terrific television. In “The Night Manager,” Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Angela Burr each play characters that are both tortured and well-fleshed out. The plot itself is a classic tangled …Read More

The People vs. O.J. Simpson

By now you may have heard about a recently concluded television series on AMC called “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.” You may have heard that David Schwimmer (yes, the guy from “Friends”) gave a really bad performance as O.J.’s buddy …Read More

London Spy

Warning: I’m on a Ben Whishaw (“The Crucible”) crusade. He brilliantly carries the weight of this wrenching 5-part British murder mystery. I’m not sure there’s a single scene without him in it, lucky for us. (He also shines in “The …Read More

Downton Abbey Season 6 Episode 6

I hope of all you “Downton Abbey” watchers caught the homage to Maggie Smith in last Sunday’s episode. I am referring to the scene where Cora and the Crawley girls are leading tours of the house, and have to answer …Read More

A Place To Call Home

It’s been a long time since we’ve done it, but we just finished binge-watching a TV series. The last ones in memory are all British — “Foyle’s War,” “The House of Eliott,” and the original “House of Cards” (the Ian …Read More

Chef’s Table

I am two episodes in to this Netflix miniseries that dedicates each episode to a different enigmatic and acclaimed chef. The production value is high, the content undeniably intriguing, and the food imagery so delectable I recommend only watching the …Read More

Billions

Last night, I saw a well publicized new show on TV, “Billions,” which stars Damian Lewis, whom I’ve fucking adored since he debuted in the “The Forsyte Saga.” Lewis portrays a self-made hedge fund manager, brilliant and macho. His nemesis …Read More

Mozart in the Jungle

I was as shocked as anyone to hear that “Mozart in the Jungle” had won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy, this past Sunday. The show, produced by Amazon Prime Video, is a “binge” style …Read More

Charlie Rose

  When I can, I try to watch Charlie Rose. In spite of the fact that Mr. Rose tends to interrupt just as someone is saying something interesting, he does bring to his TV program some fascinating interesting people. Some …Read More

Some Catching-Up Reviews

Homeland: How consistently thrilling it has been — up to what next Sunday will be the last of the 5th season.     Spotlight: Probably the best journalism movie ever, even more than “All the President’s Men.” It’s honest, showing …Read More

Wolf Hall on PBS

Last week, after the second episode, I commented that Mark Rylance seemed too mild to be Mantel’s Cromwell. Now, after the third episode, I would like to amend my critique. What I realize that he was doing was feeling his …Read More

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies

“Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Siddhartha Mukherjee, tells the complete story of cancer, from its first appearance in the fossilized remains of dinosaurs to the gleaming laboratories of modern research institutions. At …Read More

Bloodline

It’s Ben Mendelsohn’s show, no doubt about that. Don’t know Mr. Mendelsohn? Watch the 13 episodes of this family saga of the wealthy Florida Keys Rayburn family and you will observe a masterful performance by this consummate actor previously unknown …Read More

Bosch

  As a longtime fan of Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus (Harry) Bosch detective books, I was excited to see that Amazon Studios had put out a 10-episode version of a few of the books. Some of the teleplays are actually written …Read More

Lilyhammer on Netflix

The original Netflix series “Lilyhammer” is now in its third season. I was initially attracted to it by the premise. Steven Van Zandt plays Frank Tagliano from Long Island, a career mobster who, in exchange for ratting on a buddy, …Read More

Mozart in the Jungle

  Recovering oboist Blair Tindall’s 2005 tell-all look into the world of Drugs, Sex and Classical Music comes to the small screen via Amazon Studio’s streaming video service. The pilot episode is up now, and all 10 first-season episodes are …Read More

Borgen

  “Borgen” was the winner of the Best International TV Series Awards at the 2012 British Academy Television Awards. It is political drama set in Denmark and explores the high-stakes in the world of Danish politics. Every segment is of …Read More

The Normal Heart

The Academy fell hard for “Dallas Buyers Club” last year, as did many of us. The raw edges that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leo telegraphed from the big screen made me rather shrink into my cushy theater seat. However, after …Read More

West Bank Story (corrected)

In its earlier posting several weeks ago, I accidentally posted the video for the trailer rather than for the entire 21-minute film. The full-length version from YouTube is now posted below. Take a look. It’s very funny. With all the …Read More

Oliver Stone’s Untold History of the United States

  This Showtime series starts at WWII, and with 10 episodes brings us almost up to today. It is sober and sobering. Rarely is there anything utterly surprising, with the one exception of episode 6, the Cuban missile crisis. The …Read More

Shakespeare — Stage and Television

  Sometimes immersion just works. Many of us VDPers have admitted to watching entire seasons of “House of Cards,” both Yank and Brit versions, on Netflix at one sitting. For me, it worked with Shakespeare in June. Our respectable, and …Read More

Freedom Summer

  Last week, saw “Freedom Summer,” a documentary on PBS’s “American Experience.” Perhaps PBS will repeat it, but it’s available now on DVD or on iTunes. An eye-opening two-hour piece on what happened in Mississippi in 1964 when SNCC organized and sent …Read More

My Five Favorite Adapted-for-TV Series on DVD

1. TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: John Le Carre novel; 6 hour-long installments. Unforgettable performance by Alec Guinness as George Smiley, the crafty, patient, polite, relentless spymaster who digs out the Russian mole embedded in the British secret service. When you …Read More