TV CHEAT SHEET: Great News a happy surprise!
TV maven Denette Wilford says Great News is a comedy worth checking out. NBC
DENETTE WILFORD/ 24 HOURS
**WARNING: Some content may contain spoilers**
On The Fence
NBC's newest workplace comedy centres on the staff of a national cable news show that shoots in New Jersey. Katie (Briga Heelan) is an ambitious segment producer looking for her big break but s---hits the fan when her overly involved mother Carol (Andrea Martin) gets a job interning for cranky old anchor Chuck (John Michael Higgins). The most irritating part of many of today's comedies are the meddling moms (I'm looking at you, Fresh Off the Boat, The Goldbergs, Modern Family) and Carol fits in right along with them. But there's something about Martin's performance that finds the balance between punch-worthy and endearing, perhaps because there are moments where the parallels between her and my own mom are unmistakable. And maybe that's the difference. Carol's definitely irksome, but in a way that an older audience can relate to. Because unlike Beverly, Jessica and Claire, who are parenting teens and children, Carol is trying to help her adult daughter find success - all while remaining in her life. With Adam Campbell, Nicole Richie, Horatio Sanz and series creator Tracey Wigfield round out the cast, and with Tina Fey serving as one of the executive producers, Great News might seem annoying at first but don't dismiss it. You might be surprised by just how great it can be.
Premieres: Tuesday April 25 on NBC
Dancing with the Stars
Who will go next? That's the question with Week 6 around the corner. Oh, the dreaded sixth week. It's around this time in every season of DWTS when the not-so-great dancers have all been weeded out and we're left with a group of stars actually capable of winning. Eliminations may have gone predictably in the first five weeks but it's crunch time and those who've been on the top of the leaderboard (Normani, Simone, Rashad and Heather) shouldn't feel too comfortable. Diehard fans will remember Season 5 when Sabrina Bryan (clearly the best dancer, at that point) was voted off in - you guessed it - Week 6. It was the biggest upset in the show's history and I won't be surprised if next week, the 'Week 6 Curse' continues. Based on skill and past performances, Nick, Bonner or David SHOULD be gone next but you never know ... It's all about what voters want to see and if they prefer a Bachelor, want to see more of the chemistry between a cowboy and his pro partner, or are simply charmed by the determination of a retired athlete, then the others better watch out. Because at this stage of the game, no one's safe.
Check out Jane Stevenson's exclusive interview with Maks Chmerkovskiy in Monday's issue, the day he returns to dance again with Heather Morris after a calf injury.
James Spader, The Blacklist
The Blacklist has been on hiatus for two months - an absence that was filled by the surprisingly fantastic Redemption spinoff - and it returned with all kinds of bang Thursday night. After weeks of hunting for Dembe, thinking his right-hand man did him wrong, Red finally learned that it's been Mr. Kaplan who's been after him all along. The realization on both his and Dembe's faces when they separately found out the truth was both heartbreaking and terrifying. Heartbreaking because it meant their one-time friend was actually alive but that the pain she went through must have been devastating; terrifying because her survival means Reddington must confront an enemy who is not only so filled with revenge but also who knows how he operates. Spader has consistently proved how mysterious, charismatic, sarcastic and downright scary Red can be but seeing him scared is a whole different side we haven't yet seen. Another layer, another hit performance.
Man, I wanted to like this so bad. But when the lead is so freakin' frustrating, it's hard to feel any sympathy as she struggles. It's a "real loose" version of the true story of Sophia Amoruso, a girl who turned her passion for vintage hipster clothing and transformed it into a business - first by selling her finds on eBay, then becoming a multimillionaire with her fashion label, the aptly named Nasty Gal. Britt Robertson plays Sophia, who literally went from dumpster-diving and eating peanut butter for dinner to having a net worth of $280 million. The timing is a bit awkward as Sophia recently resigned as the CEO of Nasty Gal, which filed for bankruptcy, but at the same time, it couldn't be better, what with the end of Girls. I couldn't relate to that foursome when that show started any more than I can relate to Sophia. And while I might not be Girlboss' demographic (that would be you, millennials), I'm not exactly a high-schooler either but I still loved 13 Reasons Why. So, yeah. Girlboss (which is executive-produced by Charlize Theron) and its rags-to-riches story have so much potential but Sophia's just so damn unlikable. She's selfish and cocky and thinks she has it all figured out. There aren't enough vulnerable moments that make me care or even want to care about her. Knowing that she eventually finds success makes me hate her that much more. Though I grudgingly admit, watching her find and resell that stunning leather jacket at the end of the first episode was pretty damn boss.
Premieres: Friday, April 21 on Netflix
If you're hoping National Geographic's first scripted series is going to provide more insight into the way Albert Einstein thinks, then this might not be for you. Instead, Genius is more about the man himself, as a young man rising from his humble origins as he tries to make his nerdy physics dreams come true, to his life as a brilliant, stubborn, philandering rebel. Told in two timelines (featuring Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Flynn as older and younger Albert, respectively), the 10-part series, based on Walter Isaacson's book Einstein: His Life and Universe, isn't just about his scientific achievements. It also happens to be a romantic melodrama and political thriller, something you don't often expect when you hear the name Einstein. Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are among the executive producers. Howard makes his scripted television directorial debut with Tuesday's premiere - and you can tell. It's gripping and fascinating and all those wonderful things you expect from Howard. And while Rush and Flynn shine as the celebrated scientist, their performances are only accentuated thanks to an impressive supporting cast which includes Emily Watson, Samantha Colley, Seth Gabel, T.R. Knight and Vincent Kartheiser. Be smart, and watch a genius do his thing.
Premieres: Tuesday, April 25 on National Geographic