Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Moone Boy

Chris O'Dowd's Charm Goes a Long Way in This Sweet Irish Comedy

Chris O'Dowd, the tall Irish actor starring in Broadway's Of Mice and Men and perhaps best known for movies such as Bridesmaids, has charm to spare. The tall, sad-eyed actor is immediately captivating in almost every role he takes on. He puts that charm to good use in Moone Boy (Hulu).

In Moone Boy, a comedy he created and stars in, Chris is a preteen boy's imaginary friend. The premise is about as thin as they come. But Chris cleverly uses that premise as a platform on which he loads up a sweet comedy about a working-class Irish family in the small town of Boyle.

It's the 1990s and Ireland is a gloomy place with its future happiness hopelessly pinned on its soccer team winning a World Cup championship. It's rainy, gray and the townsfolk are balancing the English-speaking generation with the older, out-of-place Irish-speaking generation.

Review: Chicagoland

An Unfinished Portrait of a Great City
Chicago Tribune

Rahm Emanuel

Chicagoland (CNN, 10pm) - There was much speculation before this series began, and as it has unfolded, that this would be a "puff piece" about the mayor. That was fueled by the close association of some of its producers and super agent Ari Emanuel, the mayor's younger brother.

Whatever the filmmakers' intentions and connections, I do not think that is what they created. For all of Emanuel's world-class-city aspirations, his courting of deep-pocketed CEOs and high-tech entrepreneurs, his high-fiving of kids of color and watching youth basketball games with Isiah Thomas, the series ultimately shows a man sitting on top of a city that he is grasping to understand, a powder keg with a lit fuse. For all the video clips here that could be employed in the mayor's future reelection campaign — and there are plenty — so might any challenger seize upon other clips from the show to tarnish the mayor's image.

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Review: Bad Teacher

CBS Sitcom is Funnier Than the Movie (Which Isn't Saying a Lot)
San Francisco Chronicle

If there's one thing the new CBS sitcom Bad Teacher (9:30pm) proves, it's that you can't keep a bad thing down. The sitcom is based on the 2011 film starring Cameron Diaz (also one of the sitcom's producers) as a gold-digging teacher from hell. 

The film followed the "bad" template set by Bad Santa and continued more recently by Bad Grandpa, but wasn't as funny as it could have been. The sitcom is funnier than the film, perhaps because it's working in a normaler time frame but also because many of the performances are winning.

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Review: Black Box

Sexy Brain Doc Isn't Much Fun to Watch
New York Daily News

Black Box (10pm) - So on the one hand, we have a show that explores rare, complex neurological disorders. We also have a show about a sexy woman who whispers a lot and loves to explore the wild side.
For ABC, that’s more like it.

Now if only the combination were a little more seamless.

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Preview: 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards

A Big Night for Latin Music Stars in Miami

If your channel-flipping thumb doesn't often make its way down to Spanish-language networks Univision and Telemundo, a good time to wander over is for any of the networks' music awards shows, which there is no shortage of. Tonight at 7pm, Telemundo rolls out the 2014 Billboard Latin Music Awards.

These awards shows are live, fun and lively and, generally speaking, with performers and award presenters mixing English into their Spanish.

The Billboard awards are hosted by Roselyn Sanchez, Raul Gonzales and Laura Flores with performers and presenters including Ricky Martin, Andrea Bocelli and Marc Anthony.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Daytime TV: AMHQ

Weather Channel's Sam Champion Gets Jazzy

When Sam Champion left ABC's Good Morning America a few months ago, he headed over to The Weather Channel to set up a GMA-style show, AMHQ (weekdays 7am-10am) with weather, news headlines and pop culture reports. The fast-paced, fun and informative show is co-hosted by Maria LaRosa, Mike Bettes, Anaridis Rodriguez and Reese Waters.

Sam also had plans to get out of the show's Atlanta studio from time to time.

On Thursday and Friday this week, Sam and the show head to New Orleans for its annual Jazz Festival.

Stats: The Boondocks

The Boondocks Scores Adult Swim's Best Ratings in Five Years
Adult Swim

As Adult Swim continues to present original programming within its recently expanded prime time schedule, the fourth season of the Peabody Award-winning animated series The Boondocks premiered Monday, April 21 at 10:30pm as the network’s most-watched primetime telecast in five years among adults 18-34, 18-49 and 18-24.

It was the most-watched original series premiere in the last six years among all targeted adults and the most-watched telecast in 2014 to date across young adults 18-24, according to preliminary data from Nielsen Media Research.

Preview: Your Inner Fish

Fond Memories of When We Were Monkeys

Let's for a moment set aside the creation-evolution debate. You know, for the sake of entertainment.

On PBS's fascinating and engaging Your Inner Fish (10pm), paleobiologist and host Neil Shubin takes an everyday approach to explaining the history of humans, whether he's hanging out on an isolated, frozen Canadian hillside or with his suburban neighbors.

On the show, Neil pieces together scientific clues to where we humans came from. Tonight, on the show's third episode, he's up to monkeys on the long, long path we've taken from there (swampy, fishy muck) to here.

Preview: Inside Animal Minds

Are Humans the Smartest Animals on Earth?
Brian Hare

Inside Animal Minds (PBS, 9pm) - What makes an animal smart? What forces of evolution drive brains to become more complex?

Many scientists believe the secret lies in our relationships. Throughout the animal kingdom, some of the cleverest creatures—including humans—seem to be those who live in complex social groups, like dolphins, elephants, and apes.

Could the skills required to keep track of friend and foe make animals smarter?

Stats: Survivor

Long-Running Survivor is Still Drumming Up Solid Ratings

On a Wednesday [last week] where the top show on ABC, CBS and NBC all aired in repeats, Fox emerged the ratings winner with its two-hour American Idol, though it again lost out head-to-head to CBS’ Survivor (8pm), which was the night’s top show.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, Survivor averaged a 2.2 rating/8 share in adults 18-49 and 9.3 million viewers overall — down slightly from last week but good enough to stand as Wednesday’s top program among adults 18-49, 25-54 (2.9/8) and total viewers. Head-to-head, it beat Fox’s American Idol by 16% in 18-49 (2.2 vs. 1.9).

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