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 – TNT brings “Perception” and “Rizzoli & Isles” back for new seasons tomorrow night, Tuesday, June 25, 2013, and the first episodes are unlikely to hook anyone new while also not annoying previous fans of either program. It’s the definition of playing it safe. With networks like AMC, FX, and A&E pushing boundaries, it’s beginning to get harder to make excuses for TNT, especially after they canceled their two most interesting dramas, “Monday Mornings” & “Southland.”
CHICAGO – Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” would have likely been a standard mini-series back in the day when such a thing happened on the networks in iterations like “It,” “The Stand,” and “Storm of the Century.” In a time when network mini-series are a lost form, CBS has taken the daring move of turning King’s book into a fully-formed, 13-episode Summer series, with the door apparently open for more beyond this initial arc.
CHICAGO – NBC’s “Crossing Lines,” premiering with a two-part pilot on Sunday, June 23, 2013 at 8pm CST, was blatantly created for an international audience. It’s a product of a French production company, filming largely in the Czech Republic with an international cast. Designed for sales in as many markets as possible around the world, it’s a financial consideration more than a creative venture, and it’s a boring one at that. Don’t bother.
CHICAGO – If you’re old enough, you may remember when murder mystery parties became a trend. Game stores would sell boxes designed to get people to gather friends and essentially host their own version of the movie “Clue.” One guest was the murderer, the other party goers had to solve the crime. Well, it took longer than expected but reality TV has officially run out of ideas and have decided to turn those murder mystery parties into a weekly series.
CHICAGO – Barry Levinson & Tom Fontana’s very good “Copper” is even better in season two thanks to the inclusion of the always-great Donal Logue as a detective returned to New York City after serving in the Civil War. Logue’s General Brendan Donovan brings a new dark energy to a piece that seems to be getting denser and more engaging as it goes along.
CHICAGO – Aaron Sorkin’s “The Newsroom,” recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, drives me crazy. The HBO drama can be so thematically dense and brings up subjects too often missing from the national conversation but it can also be so frustratingly self-important and deluded in its vision of the way real people operate. Do you give it credit for the topics it raises or smash it for the heavy hand with which they’re delivered? I have high hopes that season two will iron out some of the problems (stories of reshot episodes indicate that Sorkin heard his critics) but I’m still torn on how to feel about season one.
CHICAGO – Changing showrunners often proves the kiss of death for comedies. If you watched the Dan Harmon-less fourth season of “Community,” NBC owes you an apology. And so hearing that “Wilfred” was going to tweak its behind-the-scenes staff by moving David Zuckerman from showrunner to exec producer and sliding writer/producers Reed Agnew & Eli Jorne into lead roles, there was reason for concern. Don’t worry.
CHICAGO – TNT’s “Falling Skies” isn’t quite the mega-hit that the network and Steven Spielberg hoped it would be but it has an incredibly loyal following. Recognizing that fact, Warner Bros. has put together an extensive set for the second season of the Noah Wyle sci-fi show, loaded with special features. Fans will be happy and those who may be just getting into the program, now airing its third season on TNT, may be more enticed to catch up thanks to the quality of this release.
CHICAGO – The generally-likable and amiable TNT law dramedy “Franklin & Bash” returns tonight in a slightly new iteration designed to build buzz by adding a bit of sizzle to the show. Heather Locklear joins the cast, the boys move to a beach house that allows for a lot of shirtless shots and bikini parties, and one of the guys may even have a gorgeous love interest.