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The Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the 10 Best TV Shows of 2022 (So Far)

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The Hollywood Reporter Critics Pick the 10 Best TV Shows of 2022 (So Far)

ATLANTA (FX)

After three years away, Donald Glover’s sometimes gritty, sometimes surreal examination of race and fame returned with a season in which four of 10 episodes were stand-alones without the core cast. The best of those — “Three Slaps” and “Rich Wigga, Poor Wigga” — meshed intriguingly with the hilarious and sometimes profoundly sad installments that found the central characters traveling around Europe. ­— DANIEL FIENBERG

BARRY (HBO)

In its third season, the HBO series plunged to new depths of bleakness with its title character’s quest for forgiveness — and, with that stunning highway chase, hit new heights of artistry as well. At the same time, it’s still good for laughs, especially when skewering the cruel inanities of showbiz or marveling at the wisdom of one particular beignet slinger. Is it still a comedy? Should we be calling it a drama now? I have no idea. I just know it’s excellent television. ­— ANGIE HAN

BETTER CALL SAUL (AMC)

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Creators Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan are masters of pre-finale escalation — and with the end near (the last six episodes are set for July and August), the series has ramped up the tension, the shocking twists and the tragic love story at its heart. Is Jimmy (Bob Odenkirk) corrupting Kim (Rhea Seehorn)? Is Kim corrupting Jimmy? And with the Breaking Bad timeline looming, does the future Saul Goodman have any hopes for a happy ending? ­— D.F.

BETTER THINGS (FX)

Pamela Adlon’s dramedy ended its five-season run in vintage form, as a celebration of our literal families and the families we build for ourselves with friends, loved ones and even strangers we meet along the way. Highlights included a trip to London, a cameo from Danny Trejo, a wedding, an abortion, a musical number and, if you squinted closely enough, a possible UFO sighting, all delivered with laughter and tears. ­— D.F.

HEARTSTOPPER (NETFLIX)

Heartstopper may not be reinventing the wheel with its liberal deployment of YA romance tropes — but it’s using them better than just about any other recent show, and in service of young queer characters defined more by joy than pain. Leads Kit Connor and Joe Locke share a squee-worthy chemistry as Nick and Charlie, and their relationship is cast in such a wistful and rosy glow, it might almost make you wish you were a teenager again. Almost. ­— A.H.

PACHINKO (APPLE TV+)

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Soo Hugh’s adaptation of Min Jin Lee’s novel takes liberties with structure and plot but retains the emotionally epic scope of the generation-spanning narrative. It’s driven by impeccable period production design, a masterful balance of restraint and melodrama, clever use of language and a cast with too many standouts to list — Minari Oscar winner Yuh-Jung Youn, Minha Kim and Jin Ha, among others. Plus, it boasts the best credit sequence on TV. ­— D.F.

ROTHANIEL (HBO)

From Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette to Bo Burnham’s Inside, upheavals within the comedy special space occur just regularly enough to cause discomfort for stand-up traditionalists. This year’s paradigm-shifter has been Jerrod Carmichael’s impressively intimate hour — directed and edited by Burnham — that played as half confessional, half support group. Carmichael’s coming-out got the headline, but Rothaniel is as much about the secrets and lies that bind every family together. It’s often hilarious, brilliantly constructed personal storytelling. ­— D.F.

SEVERANCE (APPLE TV+)

Initially, what’s intriguing about this show is its dystopian premise, or maybe its eerie midcentury-flavored sets. But what lingers after the credits to that thrilling season finale have rolled is the humanity of the characters — including depressed Mark (Adam Scott) and defiant Helly (Britt Lower) — who fumble toward love, community and rebellion within a system designed to stamp out all of the above. ­— A.H.

SOMEBODY SOMEWHERE (HBO)

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Don’t let the vague title fool you: The series is nothing if not specific about the everyday rhythms of the small Midwestern community it’s set in, and sensitive to the heartaches and joys and laughs — lots and lots of laughs — its characters find within it. Bridget Everett’s Sam is its narrative center, as she emerges from a fog of grief to rediscover her creative passions, but Jeff Hiller’s pure, sweet Joel is its heart. — A.H.

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN (FX/HULU)

In a year when you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a billboard for another new true-crime show, this one stood out for its excellent performances (especially by Andrew Garfield and Wyatt Russell) and its cultural specificity (creator Dustin Lance Black has firsthand knowledge of Mormon life, and it shows) — but also for its insistence in tracing the roots of a murder back to the very foundations of the community in which it’s set, raising far more unsettling questions than your usual ripped-from-the-headlines fare. ­— A.H.

This story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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NBC Sets Fall Premiere Dates for ‘Quantum Leap,’ ‘Law & Order’ Block

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NBC Sets Fall Premiere Dates for ‘Quantum Leap,’ ‘Law & Order’ Block

NBC has joined its big four broadcast counterparts in unveiling its premiere schedule for the fall.

The network will roll out the bulk of its primetime slate in the first two weeks of the 2022-23 season, which kicks off on Sept. 19. That night will see the debuts of The Voice and the network’s Quantum Leap sequel. There’s one big exception, however: The Friday comedy block of Lopez vs. Lopez and Young Rock won’t premiere until Nov. 4, after the game show College Bowl ends its season.

NBC will also roll out its Chicago dramas on Sept. 21 and its trio of Law & Order series the following night. Second-year drama La Brea will hold until Sept. 27 to make room for a two-hour Voice episode on Sept. 20.

The first Sunday Night telecast of the season is set for Sept. 11; NBC will also have the season’s opening game on Thursday, Sept. 8. The network has yet to set a date for the 48th season of Saturday Night Live.

As has been the case in recent years, the broadcast networks are choosing fairly compact premiere slates. ABC, CBS and Fox are also launching virtually all of their shows in late September and early October. The CW has yet to announce its premiere dates.

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NBC’s fall dates are below. All times are ET/PT unless noted.

Thursday, Sept. 8
8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT: NFL kickoff game

Friday, Sept. 9
8 p.m.: College Bowl

Sunday, Sept. 11
7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT: Football Night in America
8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT: Sunday Night Football

Friday, Sept. 16
9 p.m.: Dateline

Monday, Sept. 19
8 p.m.: The Voice
10 p.m.: Quantum Leap

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Tuesday, Sept. 20
8 p.m.: The Voice
10 p.m.: New Amsterdam

Wednesday, Sept. 21
8 p.m.: Chicago Med
9 p.m.: Chicago Fire
10 p.m.: Chicago PD

Thursday, Sept. 22
8 p.m.: Law & Order
9 p.m.: Law & Order: SVU
10 p.m.: Law & Order: Organized Crime

Saturday, Sept. 24
9 p.m.: Dateline Mystery

Tuesday, Sept. 27
9 p.m.: La Brea

Friday, Nov. 4
8 p.m.: Lopez vs. Lopez
8:30 p.m.: Young Rock

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Moon Knight Writer Has Not Discussed a Second Season With Marvel

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Moon Knight Writer Has Not Discussed a Second Season With Marvel

Despite Moon Knight being a huge success, writer Jeremy Slater says there are currently no plans for another season.

As the MCU continues to expand, the problem of how to continue bringing back popular characters and not overload the system is always going to become a larger problem. While many projects have navigated this by teaming up heroes in movies such as Thor: Ragnarok and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, that does not help stand-alone characters such as Moon Knight. Although the Oscar Isaac-led Disney+ series proved to be immensely popular with fans, it was not connected in any way to other MCU events, and according to its writer, it may well remain as a one-off limited series for the time being.

Jeremy Slater ended Moon Knight with a post-credit scene that introduced Marc Spector’s third personality, and left everything open to a follow-up season. However, according to Slater, he has not spoken to Marvel Studios at all about what a second series would be like. He told The Playlist:

“I honestly have no idea. I haven’t had any conversations with Marvel. I think a lot of those decisions are ultimately going to be in the hands of Kevin Feige because he’s the guy with the master plan. And of course, Oscar Isaac, because he’s not signed up for the sort of traditional seven-film contract or whatever other actors have signed. Oscar has the ability to do as much or as little Moon Knight as he wants to. I think he had a great time playing the character, and I think he really enjoyed the process and is happy he did it. But I also think he’s not a guy who’s going to rush in and just sort of churn out a sequel just because the first one was popular.”

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Related: Why Moon Knight Season 2 Needs to Happen

Moon Knight Has Been Rumored To Appear Again In The MCU

As Marvel Studios continue to delve into the darker side of the MCU with the likes of Blade and Werewolf by Night, both of these characters have been rumored to meet up with Moon Knight at one point or another. However, with no plans seemingly in place for Moon Knight’s imminent return those rumors could turn out to be a little premature. Slater added that the other thing any future return for Marc Spector would rely on Oscar Isaac. He continued:

“Again, I don’t want to speak for him and put words in his mouth, but my guess is he’s going to want to make sure that there’s an actual story worth telling and that he gets to go to places that he didn’t get to go in this first one and challenge himself in new ways. My hope and dream is that we see him again in some form in the MCU, but I have no idea when that will be or what form it will take. I’m in the dark like everyone else.”

The whole series of Moon Knight is currently available on Disney+ along with the rest of the MCU saga, including the new episode of current series, Ms. Marvel, which arrived today.

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Star Wars: Are All Droids Sentient?

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Star Wars: Are All Droids Sentient?

Droids are a fascinating piece in the Star Wars universe. There’s seemingly a droid for every possible task, from serving drinks and opening doors to translating languages. Some, like R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3P0 (Anthony Daniels), have been with the franchise from the beginning, while others like BB-8 (Ben Schwartz) and IG-11 (Taika Waititi) are new favorites. But are they sentient? The answer is seemingly more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Only it’s not. The answer is yes.

Of course, there’s an argument to be made that they are not, which is fine if being wrong is something you’re okay with. See, throughout the Star Wars universe are examples of droids that have moved past their programming into sentient personalities and abilities, in some cases becoming revered for their actions. Even droids that perform mundane tasks repeatedly have been shown to have feelings that suggest sentience. Let’s look at the evidence.

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First, look away from your phone and at your puppy, then come back. You couldn’t argue that that dog Rover is not sentient, on that we can agree. He has been trained, understands commands, knows when a treat is coming for being good and cowers when he knows he’s done something bad. One can see similarities in D-O (J.J. Abrams) from Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. D-O was a droid once owned by a Sith assassin, gaining a number of files and data on the Sith but treated horribly by his master. When we first encounter him in the film, he backs away from contact, showing a fear of people after his previous abuse, slowly gaining trust in his new family. Just like Rover. If D-O is not sentient, then why program these traits? Likewise, IG-11 from The Mandalorian, after being destroyed for trying to kill Grogu, is repaired by Kuiil (Nick Nolte), who retrains the droid to assist him on his vapor farm. Yes, Kuiil reprogrammed him to nurse and protect, but why spend days retraining a droid if you can program him to do tasks right out of the box?


Secondly, there’s an inherent drive for freedom in droids, which requires the use of restraining bolts to compensate. R2-D2 flees almost immediately to find Kenobi (Alec Guinness) when his restraining bolt is removed in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. A stronger argument can be found in Solo: A Star Wars Movie: L3-37 (Phoebe Waller-Bridge). L3 is a passionate, strong advocate of droid rights, which on its own is a sign of consciousness. Escaping her first owner after he left the restraining bolt off, she continued to improve herself by updating her knowledge and appearance. Before being severely damaged on Kessel, L3 freed the slave droids, who in turn began freeing other slaves in the mine, causing a rebellion against the Pyke Syndicate. That feeling of freedom would be counter-productive when assembling a droid, let alone many, and why would a restraining bolt be necessary unless droids move past their programming into consciousness?


The capacity for droids to see, understand, and act on an emotional level is a compelling case that we have seen many times. In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, R2-D2 (whose actions throughout the franchise alone is an overwhelming argument for sentience) escapes the grips of a super battle droid by spewing oil and setting fire to it with his rockets to stop the threat. That is a very real, responsive act for survival. IG-11 consciously moved past his programming of self-destruction to continue fighting with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) on one hand, and later coerces Djarin to remove his helmet and receive treatment by using a perceptive argument, telling him because he isn’t a living thing the mask can come off, all to perform a nurturing act of healing. The ability to recognize sacrifice is one of the more telling responsive actions. K-2S0 (Alan Tudyk) in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story sacrificed himself at the Battle of Scarif to allow time for the Rebels to send out the Death Star plans. NED-B (Dustin Ceithamer), a simple loader droid in Obi-Wan Kenobi, fought stormtroopers to allow members of the Path to escape, and in a loving act shielded Tala (Indira Varma) from harm to the end. Even C-3P0 sacrificed himself in Skywalker, but not before asking for a last look at ‘his friends’, betraying an emotional response within him.

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You’re still not convinced, are you? Everything to this point can be chalked up to advanced programming or AI capabilities, even a long time ago.

That’s fine. To think this would be easy is the dream of the fool.

Hence, the final argument. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It’s a very brief scene, but a telling one at that. R2-D2 and C-3P0 are in Jabba’s palace, standing before EV-9D9 (Mark Hamill). She assigns Threepio to be Jabba’s interpreter, then turns to Artoo, who she sees is feisty and will need to learn respect. In the background is a GNK power droid (Larin Lahr), pleading not to have searing heat applied to its feet, screaming when it connects.

RELATED: ‘The Book of Boba Fett’: Why You Recognize That Torture Droid’s Voice

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We learn that EV-9D9 is sadistic, taking great joy in the pain of droids. The sadism, cruelty, and utter lack of compassion makes her, in a disturbing way, almost the most human-like of all, with names like Adolf Hitler or Joseph Goebbels easy comparables. The GNK power droid, on the other hand, is simplistic. It’s a walking battery for recharging vehicles and machinery. All it has to do is understand basic commands, like where to go and be a battery. That’s it. Why, then, does it recognize pain? Why would anyone program a robot, with one purpose, to feel anything? Like the desire for freedom, it’s completely counter-productive to add features that hinder its ability to do the one thing it is built to do. The only argument that would make any possible sense is for the purposes of discipline, but if it, again, only has one function, how far away from that function would it have to go to warrant any discipline? Unless it is sentient and growing beyond its programming. The suggestion that it is the droid equivalent of pain it feels – jumbled, incoherent signals – is weak at best given its response.

Cue the Sy Snootles mic drop.

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