The original ‘The Muppet Show’ on Disney+

The Muppet Show: Complete Series (1977-1981) is the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational variety show to ever hit prime time. More than forty years later, it’s still funny, fast-paced, utterly madcap, and tremendous fun. Jim Henson was already a household name for bringing his Muppets to Sesame Street but his ambitions took him in all […]

Antony Starr and Ivana Milicevic star in the Cinemax series 'Banshee'

The Pure Pulp Pleasure of ‘Banshee’ on HBO Max

I like to think of Cinemax as the grindhouse version of HBO: not as exclusive, not as ambitious, not as high-toned (late night Cinemax wasn’t called “Skinemax” for nothing). And it’s the same when it comes to original programming, the cable TV mark of distinction. Where HBO boasts such impressive productions as The Wire and […]

‘Freaks and Geeks’ – complete and restored on Hulu

Somewhere between Dawson’s Creek and Booksmart is the sharp, funny, and surprisingly poignant high school dram-edy (for lack of a better word) Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000). Linda Cardellini grounds the series as Junior Lindsay, the former class brain who rejects her place in the school hierarchy and, in startling identity crisis, gravitates toward the school […]

Ricky Gervais stars on the BBC comedy 'The Office'

The original British ‘The Office’ on HBO Max

“You can’t put a price on comedy.” In the original The Office (2001-2003), creator/co-writer/co-director Ricky Gervais stars as David Brent, the insufferably self-satisfied office manager of a paper company branch who fancies himself a born comedian and a natural leader. He’s wrong about both, naturally, but his yes-man team-leader Gareth (Mackenzie Crook), a brown-noser with […]

‘Justified: Complete Series’ – TV’s best pulp storytelling on Hulu

Justified: Complete Series (2010-2015) – Timothy Olyphant is U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, a cowboy of a lawman whose brand as cowboy justice gets him demoted from his Miami posting and sent back to Kentucky, the home he thought he’d escaped once and for all. His new boss (Nick Searcy, a sharp leader with a laid-back […]

‘Crime Story’ – sixties gangsters free on IMDb TV

After helping turn Miami Vice into the defining neon crime show of its era, Michael Mann turned back the clock and put his stamp on Crime Story: Complete Series (1986-1988). Created by former Chicago cop Chuck Adamson with Gustave Reininger, the Mann-produced sixties-era gangster series made for a fabulous mix of genres (old-time gangster thriller, […]

‘Babylon Berlin’ – Wiemer noir on Netflix

Originally published on the Film Noir Foundation website The most expensive German TV series ever produced, Babylon Berlin (Germany, 2017-2018) is Weimar noir, a detective drama turned conspiracy thriller set against the backdrop of decadence and poverty and corruption in 1929 Berlin just before the Nazi party rode the swell of nationalism to power. Think […]

Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, and the group in 'The Lumberjack Song'

The Essential ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ on Netflix

And now for something completely different. In 1969, five overeducated British comics and an American illustrator ambushed the BBC with the strangest show in British history. How they got on the air is anyone’s guess (rumors of blackmail were quickly hushed, though the Python’s penchant for sheep gags… but enough of speculation), but their irreverent […]