WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Eric Deggans

David Simon created two of TV's most groundbreaking series about the failure of the war on drugs, set in the neighborhoods of Baltimore: HBO's The Corner and The Wire.

Still, even as he allows that those shows — with their visceral look at the intersection of race, policing, violence and tragedy — may have helped people question five decades of failed drug policy, Simon says he remains a "cockeyed pessimist" on the question of whether the war will ever end.

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First, I must note how much I love Tom Hanks as a performer, Hollywood citizen and all-around stand-up guy.

In nearly twenty years hosting the different dating series in The Bachelor franchise, host Chris Harrison has handled everything from confronting rule-breaking contestants to chasing down Bachelor star Colton Underwood after he hopped a fence and tried to quit the show.

But today it is Harrison who is leaving. ABC and producers of The Bachelor and its spin offs, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, have confirmed that the host is gone for good after fumbling a race-related controversy from the mothership program.

(Ed. Note: This review tries to avoid big spoilers, but drops details about the first two episodes of Marvel's Loki.)

There are a lot of TV genres and tropes I suspect inspired Marvel's highly anticipated superhero series for Disney+, Loki. But after watching the first two episodes of the new show, I realized producers came up with the one thing I didn't expect: a Men in Black-meets-48 Hours-style buddy cop comedy adventure.

If all you know about the Tulsa Race Massacre is the re-creations of the attack featured in HBO series like Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, prepare yourself for a serious education over the next few weeks.

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First, we must acknowledge that the third season of Netflix's Master of None, on some level, feels like a dodge.

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"Master Of None" returns on Sunday. It's an Emmy-winning series by Netflix. The third season centers on a character played by Lena Waithe, who's also the writer and producer. Our TV critic Eric Deggans says this is a change in focus with an off-screen backstory.

Cher felt powerless.

This is not an admission you expect from a woman who has been a superstar since the mid-1960s, with 100 million records sold and 3.9 million Twitter followers.

But when the pop star got involved in helping save an elephant stuck in a zoo in Islamabad under terrible conditions, Cher also had to fight an uncomfortable feeling.

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(Warning: This column contains descriptions of racialized violence and discusses some plot points in The Underground Railroad series.)

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Watching Elon Musk slouch his way through a stint hosting NBC's Saturday Night Live, I had one thought: Lorne Michaels, gentleman provocateur, has done it again.

Michaels, the sketch show's longtime executive producer and guru, does many things well. But his talent for poking the zeitgeist with attention-getting hosting choices may be one of his least appreciated talents — and his secret weapon for keeping SNL in the national conversation.

From this TV critic's perch, with a few exceptions, 2021 hasn't yet provided a great deluge of outstanding shows. I suspect we're enduring the lingering impact of the industry's pandemic-inspired slow downs and shut downs. But there are signs of change.

As May gets underway, I've identified four shows to watch now (except for the first one, which you can't see until Monday). They are bold, incisive, entertaining and impactful — a great harbinger for a TV industry starting to regain momentum.

Here's the list:

The Crime of the Century (HBO)

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It was this announcement that deflated a three-hour-plus broadcast.


JOAQUIN PHOENIX: And the Academy Award for actor goes to Anthony Hopkins, "The Father."


As tonight's Oscars ceremony closes out the longest — and most unconventional — awards season in Hollywood history, it's worth asking: What exactly will we see during the TV broadcast of the 93rd Oscars?

Warning: There are spoilers aplenty here regarding the final episode in the first season of Marvel's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

It's tough to imagine a better week for TV fans to meet a Black Captain America.

Nearly 140 documentary filmmakers have signed onto a letter given to PBS executives, suggesting the service may provide an unfair level of support to white creators, facing a "systemic failure to fulfill (its) mandate for a diversity of voices."

Updated March 28, 2021 at 5:01 PM ET

Near the end of HBO's new documentary, Tina, the movie implies the legendary singer has made a decision: after this film rolls out, Tina Turner just might be done appearing in public and talking about her life. It's an odd message, coming from a woman whose life story and experiences have inspired at least four books, an Oscar-nominated biopic, a Broadway musical and, now, this new film.

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Soul legend Aretha Franklin received the television-miniseries treatment with Genius: Aretha, a project that works best when it lets her music do the talking.

Let's get this out of the way first. Yes, Zack Snyder's Justice League is just over four hours long.

Four. Hours. Long.

Yet, somehow, it feels like the right length for a film that has moved mountains — and reportedly spent around $70 million beyond its original, blockbuster budget — to reinvent one of the biggest superhero movie bombs in recent memory.

And here's the thing: It actually succeeds. In more ways than I ever expected.

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It's a safe bet this wasn't the conversation that producers of The Bachelor expected would cap Matt James' season when they named him as the unscripted dating show's first Black star.

But the tense, emotional exchange Monday night between James and former girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell — where he revealed why he broke off their relationship after photos of her at an antebellum South-themed party surfaced on social media — is the kind of conversation about race and white cluelessness that The Bachelor has been avoiding for far too long.

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As the finale episode from the first season of Disney+'s fantabulous Marvel series WandaVision drops, one thing is clear:

This show is a comic nerd's dream.

Not just for the way it centers an ambitious, revelatory story on two characters beloved by comic book fans — heroes full of promise, who have not really gotten their due in big budget blockbusters like the last two Avengers movies.


OK, be honest. When I say craft beer, what comes to mind? A hoppy IPA? Sure. But maybe also, as James Bennett II writes in the digital magazine Eater, a, quote, "white guy swilling beer in specialty stemware in an authentic bar riddled with fugazi bullets in a gentrified neighborhood," unquote. And maybe we'll throw in some plaid shirts and beards along with that.

For comic book fans like me, Superman is the ultimate superhero — able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and stop a nuclear reactor from exploding by dumping a huge, melting block of ice on top of it.

But on The CW's new series Superman & Lois, our hero's alter ego Clark Kent is no match for his mopey teenage son, Jordan, struggling with social anxiety disorder and angry that his dad always seems to be elsewhere, chasing a story for The Daily Planet.