DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

GARY EDGERTON

ROGER CATLIN

KIM AKASS

GERALD JORDAN

TOM BRINKMOELLER

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
2014
Sep
7
 
 
How, after all these years, can a TV documentary approach the topic of 9/11 with something new to say, or something different to add? This one, directed by executive producer Erik Nelson, does – by shifting the focus from 9/11 to 9/10, and unearthing what several people tied to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, were doing and saying the day before, on Sept. 10. From the person who served two of the hijackers pizza to Father Mychal Judge, whose speech the day before 9/11 is an eerily pre
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
7
 
 
Here’s another TV special that takes a different approach to the upcoming anniversary date of the 9/11 tragedy. This one looks at the history and very recent completion of One World Trade, the towering replacement for the World Trade Center twin towers. When its complicated and illuminated spire was erected at the top of the building, One World Trade became the tallest structure in the Western hemisphere – and this documentary follows the work crew as they accomplish that literally s
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
7
 
 
This is the official Sunday season opener for Sunday Night Football, and the kickoff match is indeed a high-profile one. It’s Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos vs. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Luck, of course, is the QB who replaced Manning in Indianapolis, but this is more a game about top teams than just about the men at the helm. And the game is played at Mile High Stadium, so the Broncos have, and should enjoy, home-field advantage.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
7
 
 
SEASON OPENER: It’s the start of the final season of Boardwalk Empire, and the show’s writers and producers are using the opportunity to go backward as well as forward. Tonight’s opener, for example, spends quite a few scenes going back to Nucky’s childhood, and showing his early efforts to get an advantage, get ahead, and ingratiate himself with the powerful and influential Commodore, despite being less athletic or charming than the other Atlantic City wharf rats. Meanwh
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
7
 
 
SEASON FINALE: Although I still can’t recommend this series enthusiastically, I continue to watch it. The individual one-hour parts may be better than the whole, but they contain enough strong performances, and intriguing moments, to keep me watching. But how will the first season end of this mercurial drama? With so few questions answered, I fear, that this may be where I say goodbye for good. But we’ll see…
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
6
 
 
Back in 1984, one of my favorite anthology series, PBS’s American Playhouse, presented a fact-based telemovie drama called Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, directed by Gordon Parks and starring Avery Brooks in the title role, as a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery in the mid-19th century. This excellent telemovie was based on Northup’s memoir, Twelve Years a Slave – which also serves as the inspiration for this powerful 2013 movie, directed by Steve McQueen and sta
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
6
 
 
Tonight on its feature prime-time showcase The Essentials, TCM presents movies devoted to docudramas of famous singers. The evening opens with this 1980 musical biography of Loretta Lynn, starring Sissy Spacek as the eventual country music star, and Beverly D’Angelo as another, singer Patsy Cline. And pay close attention to Levon Helm, from Bob Dylan’s seminal backup group The Band, in a pivotal and complicated supporting role. Michael Apted directs, and is vey skilled at capturing t
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
6
 
 
What fun: On tonight’s Doctor Who, the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) seem to ride back in time and space to Sherwood Forest, where the fictional Robin Hood is fleshed out by Tom Riley of Da Vinci’s Demons – and where Clara gets to be decked out in suitable Renaissance Faire garb.
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
6
 
 
I’ll always associate this 1976 film biography of Woody Guthrie, starring David Carradine as the influential folksinger and composer, as much for its images as for its music. The songs, of course, are terrific, and the story of Guthrie’s riding-the-rails experiences are ready-made for a cinematic study. But Hal Ashby directed this by paying as much attention to the screen as to the soundtrack – and his cinematographer, Haskell Wexler, took the brand-new invention known as the S
 
 
 
  
 
 
2014
Sep
6
 
 
SERIES PREMIERE: Chris Moore (pictured), who worked with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on Project Greenlight, is the creator of another series that gets inside the creative process of filmmaking. This one works with such co-producers as Zachary Quinto, and gives two very different young filmmakers a shot at directing the same source material. Compare and contrast – that’s what viewers can do every step of the way in this 10-part series, leading up to the late fall premiere, on Starz!, o