Quotation marks should be used as disqualifiers whenever the “Church” of Scientology is put into print. This is no more a “Church” than an apple is an orange. But it’s been recognized as such by the IRS. How and why make for one of the more startling and dismaying segments in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. It’s an extraordinary investigative documentary with the power to provoke anger, astonishment and any number of other strong emotions. HBO, despite an organized campaign of threats and intimidation from the “religion’s” legions of automatons, will premiere the two-hour film on Sunday, March 29. Must-see television? That’s an understatement.
It’s the Walking Dead/Quincy/Psych mashup you didn’t know you wanted. But give iZombie a chance. You just might love it. CW, home to the DC Comics hits Arrow and Flash, dips into the medium again for this horror dramedy loosely based on the book from DC’s mature reader imprint Vertigo. iZombie is superbly cast and displays wit and surprises you don’t often find in the comics-to-TV genre.
Just a few weeks ago Netflix debuted The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a smart, funny series originally ordered by NBC and then sold off to Netflix when NBC executives realized they were cultivating a schedule that couldn’t possibly abide intelligent comedy. So in its place viewers get the Ellen DeGeneres-executive produced One Big Happy, a truly dreadful comedy that is the antithesis of Kimmy Schmidt. Obvious, dumb and mostly unfunny, One Big Happy is an embarrassment for all involved. It won’t have a happy ending. For all involved, it will be best if it just fails quickly and then quietly disappears.
Mark Schwahn has accomplished the near-impossible feat of making fake British royals behave worse than the real ones. Also, wisely, E!'s The Royals, a big new soapy drama about a fictional British royal family, isn’t populated with characters who mirror specific individuals in the real-life ruling Windsors. The quirks and neuroses are more mix-and-match.
TV fans who decry the dearth of quality comedies, especially viewers who appreciated NBC’s late 30 Rock, will revel in the first Netflix half-hour comedy series, the Tina Fey-produced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Originally developed and ordered by NBC, the show segued to Netflix once NBC executives realized they didn’t have an obvious, hospitable place to put it on NBC’s primetime schedule. In other words, it was too smart/too weird a fit for NBC’s more mainstream fare. It’s a smart, funny series, and it’s a relief to know Netflix saved it from what was sure to be terminal neglect had it aired on NBC.
ABC's American Crime is, like a lot of TV drama lately — Secrets and Lies, Broadchurch, The Killing — built around a murder. Someone has been killed, suspects have been apprehended, no one is sure yet what went down and why. But while the first four episodes of the series are gripping, and each introduces new complexity to a sweeping story, I would not call it a murder mystery. And that’s precisely why it works.
You have to give the USA cable network credit for committing to something as ambitious as Dig, a new, 10-episode series that desperately wants to be a globe-trotting adventure that incorporates Da Vinci Code-style ancient prophecies and conspiracies. But, judging by the first few episodes, Dig spends too much time building ominous atmosphere, and hinting at vast schemes that may change the course of history — that again — and not enough time giving us a reason to stay tuned as the convoluted plot unfolds.
Even the best-loved vehicle eventually shows its age. Time has passed, styles have changed and innumerable imitators have beaten the freshness out of CBS's CSI concept, leaving its new CSI: Cyber a show that may become best known for provoking the question "Is this really the best you can do with Patricia Arquette?" Unfortunately, the one new card Cyber has to play is an ugly one: paranoia. You can hear it in Arquette's voiceover, with its threat that all of these cyber crimes "can happen to you." It's as if the entire show were designed to send a subliminal message: "Watch or Die!" Which is, at least, a new flourish for the CSI team. It's just not a very good one.
TV fans have a right to be a little peeved that a murder case they thought would be solved in season one will now return to dominate season two of BBC America's Broadchurch. But Broadchurch has earned one more season of secrets because the new elements and mostly the performances make it worth staying around to see what other secrets lurk within..