Some of the new year’s interesting TV debuts
It wasn’t that long ago that that the fall television lineups were the be-all and end-all of new TV. Shows that made their debuts were considered little more than filler – the term “midseason replacement” was often used in a derogatory fashion.
However, as the ways in which we consume television have changed, so too have our attitudes regarding when shows join their respective lineups. Instead of an afterthought, the “Second Season” has become a viable entity in its own right, with all sorts of interesting offerings arriving on your screen of choice.
was one of the most stylish and engaging shows on television. Of course, the involvement of a legend like Martin Scorsese and an idiosyncratically talented leading man (Steve Buscemi) didn’t hurt.
Winter’s latest tackles a very different place and time – the music industry of the 1970s – but we can probably expect more of the same in terms of quality. Scorsese is back, directing the pilot and confirming plans to direct future episodes. Winter has shouldered much of the writing load (though Mick Jagger of all people has a story credit on the first episode, so who knows how this might play out), while the idiosyncratically talented Bobby Cannavale heads an excellent cast.
It’s a show about a record company during the golden age of rock and roll – if nothing else, the soundtrack will be phenomenal.
‘11.22.63’ (Feb. 15; Hulu)
“11.22.63” is one of the best books to come from Stephen King’s late-career renaissance. This story of one man’s quixotic effort to travel through time and prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963 features some of the most powerful narrative work that King has ever done. The self-contained nature of the story also makes it an ideal fit for a one-and-done TV series.
Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza make up Class of 2016
It would seem that the voters for baseball’s Hall of Fame have finally eased up the tight-fisted take on enshrinement that had hobbled the process for so long.
Two more inductees made the grade this year. Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza will see their plaques go on the wall in Cooperstown this summer. That makes nine that have been elected in the past three years.
You know, I really thought that once we made into the playoffs, the fact that I had at least some knowledge about the participating teams would make a difference. And yet, here we are.
Stella came out on top this Wild Card weekend, going 3-1. Her sole blemish was admittedly a big one – she was on the wrong end of the Chiefs blowout win over the Texans. However, she correctly predicted the continuation of the Bengals postseason woes against the Steelers. And as for the Seattle/Minnesota tilt, well … I felt pretty good until Blair Walsh. Laces out, Jeff!
‘Dining with the Famous and Infamous’ combines celebrity stories, recipes
We love knowing things about famous people. And the more we know, the more we want to know. Entire cottage industries have sprung up around the notion that as a culture, we very much want to find out everything we can with regards to the private lives of the celebrated.
But in a unique and interesting peek behind the celebrity curtain, Fiona Ross offers up a look at one of the most revealing aspects of anyone’s true life – what they liked to eat.
Every so often, I’m confronted with an item that defies definition. These events, while not necessarily Slam-worthy, resonate and continue resonating. These are the moments when the general confines of this space must be shrugged off so that mention can be made of something wonderful.
This week, that moment is Tommy Lee.
For those who were unaware, Motley Crue is allegedly finishing up their last-ever tour. While we should all probably reserve judgment on the veracity of that claim – rock and roll retirement has never been a cut-and-dried thing – the fact remains that if they’ve reached the end, then they’ve gone out in a weird (and somehow weirdly appropriate) way.
In a New Year’s Eve show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Lee took one final ride on the massive drum kit/roller coaster that the band has dubbed the Cruecifly (because of course they have). As he reached the ride’s ill-conceived apex – when he sat strapped to his stool upside down high above the crowd – the Cruecifly chose to soar no more, leaving the drummer dangling helplessly as he waited for crew members to come rescue him.
So the regular season has come to a close. For those who have been following the epic man/beast battle for primacy of prognostication that is Kibbles and Picks on our website, you know that it has been a fairly long season for the man half (that would be me) of the equation.
My dog Stella has once again proven to be my better at picking the winners of NFL games – for the second time in three years, in fact. She is adorably cutthroat, feeling no shame at metaphorically biting the hand that feeds her.
Tarantino’s latest a stylish, violent Western
Considering his seeming ubiquity in the pop culture landscape since bursting onto the scene with the one-two punch of “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” in the early 1990s, it’s a little surprising that Quentin Tarantino has only directed eight films.
(Well … by his count, anyway. Depending on how you choose to categorize the two-volume “Kill Bill” or the “Death Proof” half of “Grindhouse,” you could argue that this latest is actually his ninth.)
“The Hateful Eight” is Tarantino’s newest work; once again, he’s paying homage to a beloved genre – in this case, the Western. The director (who also wrote the screenplay) provides himself an abundance of opportunities for sweeping shots and extreme violence – just the sort of combination that allows Tarantino’s vision to shine brightest.
Book offers humorous, genuine take on growing older
Getting older is one of those realities that we’re all forced to face eventually. No matter how mightily we might struggle against it, the passage of time is an unavoidable inevitability. Plenty of people have put pen to paper in an effort to voice the complexity of their feelings regarding their mortality. Many of these meditations are built on strength and sadness and seriousness. Others strive to see the humor in it all.
You can probably guess on which side Michael Ian Black’s latest book falls.
‘The Children’s Home’ offers unconventional horror
The best horror fiction is that which embraces and exploits the unknown. Too often, writers take the easy path, filling their pages with moments that, while scary enough, aren’t particularly surprising. Many times, the frights tend to be familiar ones.
Once again, we reach the end of the NFL’s regular season. After a brilliant first half, the New England Patriots struggled over the final eight. They finished at 12-4 – their 2-2 record for the month included losses in their last two games against the Jets and the Dolphins.
It’s safe to say that the Patriots as they stand currently are a different team than the one that was inspiring talk of another perfect regular season. On offense in particular, the team has struggled. Despite their losing streak, New England still landed a first-round bye, though they did cede the overall top seed to Denver.
It’s playoff time, so the counter is reset to zero. However, if they keep playing the way they have over the past month, New England’s time might be short.
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