Author Archives: Roger Catlin

Tuesday TV: Let All the Shouting Begin

Tonight’s first Presidential Debate (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, CSPAN, Fox News, 9 p.m.) between Joe Biden and Donald Trump may be the most seen political event on TV ever. If so it will have to beat the 84 million who watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Trump. They’re not exactly debates, of […]

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Monday TV: Puppets Recreate the Past

When the Chinese artist Ma Liang, also known as Maleonn, realizes his father is suffering from Alzheimer’s, he creates a stage performance that highlights moments from his past, starring life-sized mechanical puppets.The staging of his “Papa’s Time Machine” performance is the subject of the film by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang, “Our Time Machine,” […]

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A Slight Kennedy Center Reopening

If you were planning the first in-person performance in the Kennedy Center in six months, a kind of historic cultural awakening after the darkness of the pandemic lockdown, you couldn’t go wrong with a double bill of Renée Fleming and Vanessa Williams. The opera diva and the glamorous pop singer and actress, harmonizing and soloing […]

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‘The Comey Rule’ Brings It All Back to 2016

Step back for a moment from the current crazed political fury and consider the one four years ago. The names, the accusations, the emails. It all comes back in frustrating detail in “The Comey Rule” (Showtime, 9 p.m.), a two-night series drawn from former FBI Director James Comey’s book, which still doesn’t quite let him […]

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Also on Sunday: Fourth Season ‘Fargo’

Three years after it was last on the air, “Fargo” (FX, 9 p.m.) returns in a different place and time (Kansas City, 1950), with a different cast, and almost a different sensibility, set up as beef between crime families led by Chris Rock and Jason Schwartzman. The central conceit – that warring families would trade […]

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Theater Review: Hang Up and Dial Again

The pandemic shutdown, now entering its seventh catastrophic month, has necessitated a certain creativity if any theater at all is to be produced or consumed. Mostly, this has been through Zoom-derived entertainments, which as clever as some may be are, are usually no fun for the already Zoom-fatigued working stiffs from home. Other theater companies […]

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Saturday TV: ‘Just Mercy’ and Football

Bryan Stevenson’s timely and personal story of race and the law in the deep South is told in the death penalty drama “Just Mercy” (HBO, 8 p.m.), making its premium cable premiere. Michael B. Jordan stars; Jamie Foxx and Rafe Spall are also part of the cast. A good backup: A replay of “Black America […]

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Revising a Confounding Case, Morris-Style

In 1970, a Green Beret Army surgeon was accused of killing his wife and two young daughters. He blamed it on a roving band of Manson-inspired hippies who wrote crude messages in blood on the walls like “Acid is Great.” and “Kill All the Pigs.” It was tried twice with differing results and became a […]

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Also on Friday: Amazon’s Trippy ‘Utopia’

“Utopia” (Amazon, streaming) has already been a British series about a bunch of comic book fans finding a conspiracy behind their favorite title. But the new version by Gillian Flynn (of “Gone Girl” and “Sharp Objects” fame) brings a freshness and vitality to the tale. Funding by the streaming service makes for a very credible […]

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Thursday TV: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ to CBS

“Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS, 10 p.m.), heretofore a streaming-only offshoot, gets its first broadcast appearance in a way to fill the otherwise empty TV slots this fall after the pandemic has stifled production. Sonequa Martin-Green stars in the series, which seems a little more warlike than the original. Its third season starts Oct. 15 — […]

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