Friday, August 29, 2014

5Qs on Friday: Mira Sorvino

A Scary Mystery is Swirling Around Mira Sorvino

About a quarter of the way into last week's season premiere of BBC America's wonderfully dark Intruders (Saturday, 10pm), John Simm's Jack Whelan says to his wife, Mira Sorvino's Amy Whelan, "You have not been yourself." To put it mildly.

On the show, from X-Files' Glen Morgan and based on the novel "The Intruders" by Michael Marshall Smith, Mira's character is a mysterious woman whose odd behavior and sudden disappearance are as dark and spooky as the show itself. Men dressed in black suits stealthily bump around suburban neighborhoods, unlocking doors and thrusting people into exorcism-type convulsions, when they're not killing them.

Mira spoke with TVFirstLook about Intruders, her strange character Amy and being part of TV's Golden Age of dramas.

TVFirstLook: Glen Morgan is a legend in creepy TV. What's it like to work with him?

Review: Party Down

Bingeworthy: The Great Comedy Party Down is a Whos-Who of Today's TV Stars

One of the best TV comedies that most TV viewers have never heard of is Starz' great and influential Party Down, which ignited or re-ignited the careers of Glee's Jane Lynch, Masters of Sex's Lizzy Caplan, Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott, Marry Me's Ken Marino, Veronica Mars' Ryan Hansen, Silicon Valley's Martin Starr and Will & Grace's Megan Mullally.

If you ever wanted to get an inside look at fame just before it happens, Party Down is it.

Preview: Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

Cinematographer Dyanna Taylor Celebrates Photographer Dorothea Lange

American Masters — Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning (PBS, 9pm) explores the life, passions and uncompromising vision of the influential photographer, whose enduring images document five turbulent decades of American history, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II Japanese internment camps. Peabody- and five-time Emmy award-winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor — the granddaughter of Lange and writer/social scientist Paul Schuster Taylor — directs and narrates this intimate American Masters documentary. Keep reading.

Review: No Cameras Allowed

James Marcus Haney's Rock Concert Crashing is Thrilling
New York Times

No Cameras Allowed (MTV, 10pm) - James Marcus Haney is an appealing narrator, evincing humility and moxie. There are subplots (tensions with parents over graduation; neglect of his girlfriend and a disabled buddy) that dovetail into a crisis (an injury in Pamplona, Spain) and a pat ending almost too MTV-friendly. But No Cameras Allowed brims with enthusiasm, vividly conveying rock ’n’ roll’s hectic, bleary and exhilarating moments. Keep reading.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Review: Rejoice with Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot

Beautiful Exploration of Jewish Music
New York Daily News

Beyond the wonderful music, Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot share a great story on this moving edition of PBS’ Great Performances (9pm).

While Perlman lives in New York and Helfgot is based at Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue, Perlman admits the first time he saw the cantor was on a trip to Israel, where Helfgot happened to be on tour performing.

Once he had seen the performance, Perlman says, he went backstage and told Helfgot they had to do something together.

So they did, and it’s as satisfying as everyone would expect.

Keep reading.

Preview: Project Runway

Project Runway Designers Rock Alternative Wedding Dresses

Sure, one season of Project Runway and its offshoots blends into another. But that's OK as season 13 is proving with fast-paced episodes, talented designers and lovable real-life characters spiced up with a dash of not so nice (this season, that's Indian spice). Tonight at 9pm, Runway's contestants shake up the traditional wedding dress with an alternative edge fit for a rocker (think black).

Preview: Garfunkel and Oates

Dennis the Heckler Protests Garfunkel and Oates' 1,000th Show

There's quirky TV and then there's quirky TV that is possibly just not good. But it's odd, so it's hard to tell. Perhaps that is what Dennis the Heckler (Steve Little) is feeling as he makes a pilgrimage to protest the continued success of Garfunkel and Oates' Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci as they perform their 1,000th show. IFC, 10pm.

Preview: Survive the Tribe

Hazen Hunts with the Inuit in Frozen Alaska
National Geographic Channel

Survive the Tribe (Nat Geo Channel, 10pm) - To navigate along the Arctic Circle, Hazen must prove himself to the Inuit who have been living off this barren land for centuries. In Nunavik, temperatures drop to minus 10 degrees and polar bears patrol the icy landscape. After embarking on an Inuit crash course in dog mushing, Hazen must chisel through three feet of ice to catch Arctic char and learn to build an igloo. In one of his scariest undertakings, he must go to deep ice chambers of the sea to harvest mussels that live beneath the ice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Preview: Brew Dogs

Brew Dogs May Be TV's Biggest Surprise (in a Good Way)

Blame it on the beer or the co-hosts' nearly indecipherable Scottish accents. There's an intoxicating something in the air, surely, to explain the utter greatness of Esquire Network's Brew Dogs (9pm), which wraps its season tonight with the guys heading to Los Angeles.

On the show - one of several on Esquire that is far better than its concept sounds - UK brewers James Watt and Martin Dickie travel to a U.S. city where they meet up with local brewers. That's it.

Except, James and Martin are funny, witty, sarcastic and sometimes inadvertently sexy. And the heart of the show is meeting up with regular Americans who brew craft beers in some gorgeous locations, like Hawaii and Alaska.

On tonight's season finale, James and Martin head over to Los Angeles where they'll create a contraption to brew beer that incorporates local ingredients and some nutty gadgets. Brew Dogs is quite fun.

Stats: America's Got Talent

America's Got Talent is Trending Up But Only Among Older Folks

Howard Stern
NBC’s America’s Got Talent (8pm) remained the top program in key ratings categories on a ho-hum Tuesday [last week], but the show has clearly taken on an older skew this summer.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, America’s Got Talent averaged a series-low 1.9 rating/6 share in adults 18-49 and 9.4 million viewers overall from 9 to 11 p.m., down a smidge from last week in both categories.

Compared to the same night a year ago, the competition series was down 14% in 18-49 (from 2.2) while up 11% in total viewers (from 8.5 million). And while it matched last year’s rating in adults 25-54 (2.6), it tumbled 26% among persons 12-34 (1.4 vs. 1.9).

Keep reading.