7 items from 2014
Amid a night filled with the expected tributes, Bill Maher closed by issuing a full-throated defense of Jay Leno — citing his victimization by the media — as the Television Academy inducted six new Hall of Fame members in Beverly Hills on Tuesday night.
Introducing Leno, Maher compared the former “The Tonight Show” host to Israel, saying in regard to the way he’s been covered through the years, “He’s not perfect, but he’s held to a standard that no one else in the world is expected to live up to other than him.”
The host of HBO’s “Real Time” (who referenced a 35-year friendship with Leno, and appeared in a taped piece on his final “Tonight Show”) dismissed the notion that Leno had “stolen” Conan O’Brien’s dream by returning to again assume NBC’s latenight mantle and chided the media for writing the story in that fashion at the time. »
- Brian Lowry
Spoof mini-series The Spoils of Babylon is coming soon, so what finer time to tip our hats to the epic, emotional heavyweight classics of the genre from the 70s and 80s?
This Saturday sees the start of star-studded parody The Spoils of Babylon on Fox, in which Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins and Tobey Maguire take aim at the epic (and epically cheesy) American mini-series of the late 70s and early 80s. In preparation, here's our guide to six of the best original shows. (Note: yes, Roots is a 70s mini-series, but it's also a serious drama and too good for inclusion here.)
Rich Man, Poor Man (1976)
The daddy of them all. This adaptation of Irwin Shaw's bestseller told the tale of two opposite (and opposed) brothers, good boy Rudy (Peter Strauss) and bad boy Tom (a show-stopping Nick Nolte). There had been other mini-series before Rich Man, »
- Sarah Hughes
Sundance scored a buzzy hit last year by running the French series “The Returned,” complete with subtitles. Barnett said new episodes of the show — which she called “the non-zombie French zombie show” — would air on Sundance later this year.
Barnett also touted the attention garnered last year by Sundance’s first original scripted drama, “Recity.”
Showrunner Ray McKinnon and exec producer Mark Johnson came out for brief remarks and thank-yous to reporters for the high praise given to “Rectify,” which was dependent on good word of mouth. Show’s second season will air this summer, with 10 episodes this time around compared to six last year.
The big push at the Sundance sesh, however, went to new drama “The Red Road,” which revolves around the tensions »
- Cynthia Littleton
The Spoils of Babylon is disappointing in almost every way. That’s too bad, because it seems to have everything going for it, including an all-star cast (including Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Tim Robbins) and an amusingly specific concept: It sends up a particular type of program from a particular period of TV history, the long and expensive but dramatically and visually meh network miniseries. The subgenre ruled U.S. airwaves for about ten years starting in 1977, when Roots, one of the few genuinely fascinating examples of the form, became a surprise smash. The Spoils of Babylon is a work more in the mode of Rich Man, Poor Man, The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War: rich in melodrama, low on substance — a typical (for the period) nighttime soap opera, but with a bigger budget. That I need to explain all this for the sake of »
- Matt Zoller Seitz
The Spoils of Babylon premieres at 10 tonight on IFC. Never heard of Eric Jonrosh? Well, then, you’re missing out on one of the greatest literary minds the 20th century ever produced, a raconteur of prodigious wit that created unforgettable dramas that seared into the psyche and soul of America. At least that’s what The Spoils of Babylon, the wonderfully absurdist new comedy from IFC, would have you believe. Taking aim squarely at those overwrought, bloated miniseries that were staples of the 1980s (think The Thorn Birds, The Winds of War), the six-part — ahem — saga follows the twisted … Continue reading →
The post The Spoils of Babylon: Will Ferrell leads all-star cast in IFC’s absurdist soap opera appeared first on Channel Guide Magazine. »
- Stacey Harrison
The Spoils of Babylon, premiering Thursday on IFC (10 p.m. Et/Pt) and produced by Funny or Die, is more correctly titled - with a significant loss of magnificent pretentiousness - Eric Jonrosh's The Spoils of Babylon. It also bills itself as an “epic television event,” but in truth boils down to a mere six half-hour episodes. And although Babylon boasts a cast that starts somewhere in the A-list (Tobey Maguire, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell), it stoops a little to accommodate a few highly respectable character actors (Tim Robbins, Michael Sheen). Then it improbably winds down to Haley Joel Osment, »
- Tom Gliatto, PEOPLE TV Critic
If you have a fondness -- or even a fleeting, distant nostalgia -- for those epic, dramatic miniseries events of the 1970s and '80s, such as North and South, The Thorn Birds or The Winds of War, then IFC's star-laden miniseries spoof will tickle your overwrought, melodramatic fancy. The elements are all here in this Funny or Die production, created, directed and written by Saturday Night Live veteran Matt Piedmont: a stern but benevolent patriarch; a wanton, scheming daughter in love with her adopted brother; the rise and fall of a family's fortunes, rife with secrets, betrayal and perhaps even …
- Allison Keene
7 items from 2014
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