CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.
CHICAGO – While there were a few nice surprises (Vera Farmiga! Laura Dern!), the 2013 Emmy nominations were a largely predictable bunch, including most of the nominees from last year, including “Breaking Bad,” “Homeland,” “Downton Abbey,” “Mad Men,” “Modern Family,” and many more.
CHICAGO – Around a year ago, I named Shawn Ryan’s excellent “Last Resort” the most-promising new show of the Fall season. I think I need to relabel that this year to “creatively promising,” for while I knew Ryan and his crew here had a chance to produce something special, I also worried that ABC was dooming it on Thursday nights.
CHICAGO – There’s no television program that can be more simultaneously brilliant and frustrating as Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” returning tonight, July 14, 2013, to start an already-tumultuous second season.
CHICAGO – Jenji Kohan’s “Orange is the New Black,” premiering in its entirety this Thursday, July 11, 2013 on Netflix for those of you who love your binge viewing, is one of those rare programs that gets better and better in memory.
CHICAGO – Here are a few words that adequately describe NBC’s “Camp,” a Summer series premiering this Wednesday, July 10, 2013 — “Likable,” “Amiable,” “Cute,” “Fun.” It’s not designed to challenge your dramatic expectations and delivers exactly what you’d expect it to deliver but the cast has some notable stand-outs and the whole thing has the feel of a long weekend away in the Summer — fun while it lasts if not overly memorable.
CHICAGO – FX’s “The Bridge” bears undeniable resemblance to other recent cable hits. The quirky-but-smart female lead will remind viewers of Claire Danes’ award-winning performance on Showtime’s “Homeland” while the mystery structure of the piece and the dense atmosphere are undeniably reminiscent of AMC’s “The Killing.” And international audiences will know it’s a loose remake of a Swedish show called “Bron.”
CHICAGO – Every Summer needs a guilty pleasure. (Anyone else watch “The Glass House”? Just me? OK. Moving on.) This Summer’s guilty pleasure could easily be NBC’s truly bizarre “Siberia,” premiering tonight at 9pm CST. This hybrid of “Survivor” and “LOST” has some truly rough edges but also contains an addictively strange premise that could separate it from a lot of the bland network offerings this season.
CHICAGO – “I like you. You say what you mean.” Showtime’s brilliant new show, “Ray Donovan,” is titled after a straightshooter in a town where no one is honest; a problem solver in a place built on mountains of problems. Ann Biderman’s stunning drama (directed and produced by “Sopranos” vet Allen Coulter) is the kind of dense patchwork quilt of character and theme that separate great shows from merely good ones.
CHICAGO – The start of the eighth and final season of “Dexter” feels like a comeback album from a band that you used to love. There’s a blend of true happiness that this show looks, after four episodes, that it will end on a strong note, but also a bit of anger at the weak storytelling and stupid decisions that led us here.
CHICAGO – As excellent as the current state of writing is in television, even our best programs often fit neatly into genres. It’s a three-party system — drama, comedy, and reality. And some of our most critically-acclaimed shows are so because of how they play within audience expectations (“Homeland,” “Parks & Recreation”) and not how they push them.