Television and Miniseries
By Matthew MacEgan, 16 January 2021
A total of 140 Japanese animated television series numbering more than 1,865 episodes debuted in 2020. Our critic comments on a selection of the more popular titles.
By Matthew MacEgan, 11 January 2021
Disney and Lucasfilm aired the second season of their Star Wars television series on Disney Plus at the end of 2020, setting the stage for the launch of several spinoff series to swell the portfolios of their stockholders.
Room 2806: The Accusation—Digging up the discredited sexual assault case against French politician Dominique Strauss-Kahn
By Joanne Laurier, 19 December 2020
The case fell apart in August 2011 after prosecutors found, in their own words, that the alleged victim had been “persistently, and at times inexplicably, untruthful in describing matters of both great and small significance.”
By Fred Mazelis, 11 December 2020
The Netflix series ignores identity politics, in favor of a humane and unselfish view of life.
By Matthew Brennan and Fred Mazelis, 1 December 2020
This Netflix offering treats its subject with uncommon seriousness and humanity.
By Carlos Delgado, 30 November 2020
The world is not shaped by the hidden machinations of elites, but by social development, the development of the class struggle.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 November 2020
Trial 4 is an eight-episode documentary television series, currently streaming on Netflix that examines the case of Sean Ellis, a black teenager wrongly convicted of the 1993 murder of police officer John Mulligan.
By Nick Barrickman, 11 November 2020
The series’ initial airing in May 2018 on YouTube’s platforms became the widest-viewed digital programming on the internet for that month. Since appearing on Netflix, the series has become the platform’s most popular program.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 September 2020
A suburban father’s life is upended when a stranger reveals a devastating secret.
By Joanne Laurier, 12 September 2020
Stateless, now showing on Netflix, deals with the harsh Australian immigration detention program and the horrors inflicted on persecuted refugees fleeing colonial wars.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 July 2020
#Anne Frank Parallel Stories is a documentary streaming on Netflix that retraces the life of Anne Frank, as well as five living women who survived the Nazi concentration camps in World War II.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 July 2020
The French Netflix miniseries concerns the plight of a middle-aged, middle class man who seeks to redress his long-term unemployment through extreme measures.
By Nick Barrickman, 1 July 2020
The latest season is the final one in the series about the lives and difficult circumstances of a group of teenagers at fictional Liberty High School.
By Ed Hightower, 30 June 2020
The Kominsky Method on Netflix looks at aging through the experiences of a pair of long-time friends: Sandy Kominsky, a once well-known actor and current acting coach, and his agent Norman Newlander.
By Thomas Scripps, 27 June 2020
The BBC’s three-part The Salisbury Poisonings uses drama as state propaganda and is designed to reignite the Skripal affair that dominated UK politics in 2018.
By David Walsh, 5 June 2020
The eight-part series focuses on an expatriate American musician-composer and his attempts to keep his nightspot open and confront some of the problems in his personal life.
By Tom Mackaman, 1 June 2020
Grant was motivated, in the Civil War and the period of Reconstruction that followed, by his belief in the democratic ideal of human equality proclaimed by the American Revolution.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2020
The British television miniseries, The Accident, tells the story of a decayed former mining and steel town in Wales, in which a factory under construction collapses, resulting in a horrendous tragedy.
By Joanne Laurier, 22 May 2020
World on Fire, a seven-episode series, is set at the beginning of World War II and follows characters from five countries. Colored by anti-war and anti-fascist views, it takes place in France, Britain, Germany and Poland.
By David Walsh, 21 May 2020
Much of Lost Girls is taken up by Mari Gilbert’s painful, persistent struggle for some police or official action in regard to her daughter’s fate.
By Joanne Laurier, 18 May 2020
Based on the 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere, an eight-episode Hulu miniseries, focuses on several families and individuals in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio, who come into conflict.
By David Walsh, 9 May 2020
Tony Johnson (Gervais) is devastated by the death of his beloved wife Lisa (Kerry Godliman) from breast cancer. He finds it difficult to carry on with life and frequently contemplates suicide.
By Ed Hightower and Kathleen Martin, 28 April 2020
Tiger King centers on the feud between Joe Exotic—a flamboyant zoo owner in rural Oklahoma—and the animal rights activist who aims to shut down the cub petting industry in the US, Carole Baskin.
By Joanne Laurier, 27 April 2020
The production of and interest in the nine-part documentary are part of the growing opposition in the US both to the death penalty and to mass incarceration.
By Lee Parsons, 18 April 2020
Set late in the 24th century, Star Trek: Picard concluded its 10-episode season in March to generally favourable reviews, if a mixed reception from the faithful.
By David Walsh, 25 March 2020
The series imagines an alternate history in which aviation hero and Hitler admirer Charles Lindbergh becomes the Republican Party’s candidate for president in 1940 and wins the general election against incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt.
By Penny Smith, 23 March 2020
The entertainment industry across the US and Canada has effectively shut down, leaving hundreds of thousands of already precariously employed workers suddenly without an income.
By Tim Avery, 17 February 2020
A sequel to the 1986 comic book of the same name, Watchmen essentially depicts Tulsa, Oklahoma as the flashpoint for an inevitable race war.
By Joanne Laurier, 14 February 2020
The King is a Netflix historical drama broadly tracing the life of Henry V (1386–1422), with a certain anti-war coloring.
By Ed Hightower, 30 January 2020
A colorful and often humorous historical fantasy set in the early 1960s, Maisel represents a serious effort.
By Tom Hall, 27 January 2020
The Expanse depicts interstellar conflict and political intrigue in the distant future, when humanity has colonized most of the Solar System.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 January 2020
The Politician centers on the Machiavellian operations of an ambitious California high school senior, determined to win the election for student body president as a stepping-stone, ultimately, to the White House.
By Matthew MacEgan, 8 January 2020
Disney launched its new streaming service, Disney Plus, with the first live-action Star Wars television series, The Mandalorian, this past November.
By Zac Corrigan, 4 January 2020
The central theme of the series, one of the most watched of the past decade, is the supposed dark side of technological development.
By Verena Nees, 21 November 2019
The German television drama The Unwanted: The Odyssey of the St. Louis recounts the story of the ship with more than 900 Jewish refugees on board fleeing Nazi Germany, prevented from landing by the Cuban, American and Canadian governments.
By David Walsh, 30 October 2019
In the Netflix Original series, Paul Rudd plays a middle-aged marketing copywriter “stuck” in his life. Unexpectedly, he finds himself co-existing with a clone, a “better” version of himself.
A 21st-century “Hunger Games”
By Carl Bronski, 4 September 2019
In all, five of the nine runners-up of Season 6 of Alone were medically evacuated. Others voluntarily withdrew due to the effects of starvation, psychological breakdown or the loss of shelter.
By Nick Barrickman, 24 August 2019
In the third season of Justin Simien’s series, events culminate in a #MeToo-style attack on a popular professor.
By Clara Weiss, 5 August 2019
Under conditions of an international resurgence of fascist forces, the series, which had an enormous impact in West Germany in 1979, has lost none of its relevance.
By Matthew MacEgan, 27 July 2019
Stranger Things, created by the Duffer Brothers, continues with its tribute to the 1980s, science fiction and horror themes.
By Joanne Laurier, 11 July 2019
Charité at War is a German television drama, set in the years 1943 to 1945 at Berlin’s Charité hospital, one of the most prominent in Europe. The series depicts life under Nazi rule.
By Ed Hightower, 27 June 2019
Barry follows a discharged Marine-turned-assassin as he attempts to shed the moral baggage of his military service, with tragi-comic results.
Miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster
By Andrea Peters, 15 June 2019
Director Johan Renck and scriptwriter Craig Mazin capture the reality of the explosion that tore open the facility’s nuclear reactor core and spewed radioactive material over large swathes of the western USSR and Europe.
By Gabriel Black, 27 May 2019
Game of Thrones’ final season was met with a widespread public backlash critical of its simplistic and misanthropic ending.
By Joanne Laurier, 26 March 2019
An Amazon Prime original, This Giant Beast That Is the Global Economy is an eight-episode documentary series that purports to make sense of a complex global situation.
By Josh Varlin, 22 March 2019
The show is too savvy to be a simple #MeToo parable about its protagonist’s fall from grace, although the anti-democratic campaign does find reflection.
By Barry Grey, 19 February 2019
There is no precedent in US presidential history for such a direct incitement of violence against a public personality.
By David Walsh, 1 February 2019
William Makepeace Thackeray’s work, a remarkable social satire and picture of life, is set during and after the Napoleonic Wars, with the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 playing a role in the events.
Russian television’s Trotsky serial: A degraded spectacle of historical falsification and anti-Semitism
By Fred Williams and David North, 19 December 2018
The eight-part mini-series, now available on Netflix, is an exhibition of the political, intellectual and cultural depravity of all those involved in its production. This comment was originally posted in November 2017.
By David Walsh, 15 December 2018
The series centers on a British Army veteran, David Budd, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Budd now serves as an officer with a branch of the police in charge of security for politicians.
By David Walsh, 14 November 2018
The series begins with the shooting death of a south London pizza delivery man. The murderer, we soon learn, is a female British army captain, who believes she has killed an Iraqi “terrorist.”
By Sandy English, 26 September 2018
Game of Thrones, which premiered in 2011, is a complex and well-acted drama for the most part, but lacks resonance or genuine substance in relation to the big problems faced by its audience.
By Ed Hightower, 27 August 2018
Australian comic Hannah Gadsby’s Netflix special, Nanette, has become a huge success. Great claims, unsupported by the reality of the hour-long program, have been made for it.
By Ed Hightower, 16 July 2018
The familiar problem of having run out of something to say pervades the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
By Joanne Laurier, 13 July 2018
The HBO television series, Succession, is a sharply drawn portrait of a family that runs a global media conglomerate.
By David Walsh, 7 July 2018
A slightly bored British intelligence officer takes on a new, more “exciting” assignment, pursuing a female assassin.
By Nick Barrickman, 4 July 2018
The second season picks up where the first season left off: focused on the petty and self-centered exploits of a group of African American students at a fictional upscale university.
By David Walsh, 31 May 2018
On Tuesday, ABC television cancelled the revived Roseanne after its star Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet.
By Ed Hightower, 22 May 2018
A breath of fresh air, Corporate, directs its fire against the multinational corporation with considerable honesty and success.
By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier, 9 April 2018
The result is surprisingly optimistic and confident, not what one might have expected from Fassbinder, known for his emotionally dark, harsh and even cynical films.
By David Walsh, 4 April 2018
The first two episodes of the new season, broadcast on ABC back to back on March 27, were watched by more than 20 million people. The network has announced plans for an 11th season.
By Paul Mitchell, 30 January 2018
The season begins with the Suez crisis in 1956 and ends in 1963 with the Soviet spy scare centred on War Minister John Profumo.
By Bryan Dyne, 22 January 2018
The series is a vindication of what can be achieved with scientifically coordinated and socially progressive human activity.
Russian television’s Trotsky serial: A degraded spectacle of historical falsification and anti-Semitism
By Fred Williams and David North, 25 November 2017
The eight-part serial is an exhibition of the political, intellectual and cultural depravity of all those involved in its production.
By Patrick Martin, 2 October 2017
The 18-hour documentary series on PBS combines gripping images of the US war, an exposure of the lies and crimes of the Johnson and Nixon administrations, and a narrative that seems intended to block any serious understanding of American imperialism.
By Hiram Lee, 20 September 2017
Twenty-five years after its last episode aired, Twin Peaks, the surreal small-town mystery, has been brought back to life by David Lynch.
By David Walsh, 19 September 2017
The media was more or less agreed Monday that the highlight of the 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards was the brief appearance by Trump’s former press secretary.
By Carlos Delgado, 21 August 2017
The acclaimed science fiction drama imagines a futuristic amusement park populated by ultra-lifelike robots.
By Bryan Dyne, 20 July 2017
The 10-episode season depicts the life of one of the most renowned scientists in world history without paying much attention to the science he developed.
By Ed Hightower, 1 July 2017
The prequel to AMC’s hit Breaking Bad has an identity crisis, and in Season Three resolves this by largely becoming another cop drama.
By Hiram Lee, 20 June 2017
The newest season of the Netflix drama House of Cards sees the corrupt administration of President Frank Underwood struggling to retain power while battling rival factions within the state.
By James Brewer, 3 June 2017
The Public Broadcasting Service presented an engaging and informative documentary on the science behind the Flint water crisis.
By Joanne Laurier, 30 May 2017
The film admirably revives a venerable tradition of anti-military and anti-war drama and comedy in the US.
Anthony Bourdain in Laos
By Walter Gilberti, 27 May 2017
Perhaps only a culinary celebrity can evade the wall of self-censorship in the American media to discuss a war crime committed by the US military.
By Joanne Laurier, 24 May 2017
The first season of the new Netflix 10-part series, Dear White People, an expansion of Justin Simien’s 2014 movie, concerns a group of black students at a fictional, predominantly white, Ivy League college.
By Ed Hightower, 15 May 2017
The few elements that might have been the show’s saving grace vanish in this final season as Girls dives hard into the morass of identity politics and “personal responsibility.”
By Matthew MacEgan, 12 May 2017
The series’ first season tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who goes missing in a small town where a top-secret government agency is running tests on supernatural phenomena.
By Genevieve Leigh, 10 May 2017
The new Netflix series treats the background to the decision by Hannah Baker, a high school student in a more or less average American suburb, to kill herself…and its consequences.
By Joanne Laurier, 3 November 2016
Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes, commissioned by Amazon Studios, is a television miniseries set in the period of the anti-Vietnam War protests.
By Johannes Stern and Peter Schwarz, 24 October 2016
The TV film “Terror—Your Verdict” was a deliberate political spectacle to promote German militarism, undermine the constitution, and nullify elementary democratic rights.
By Josh Varlin, 15 August 2016
Netflix’s original animated series BoJack Horseman manages to provide a comedic yet thoughtful look at the entertainment industry and the psychic damage it inflicts.
By Ed Hightower, 6 August 2016
A number of new comedies on Netflix offer mixed results.
By Carlos Delgado, 2 August 2016
The popular HBO television comedy stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer, a hopelessly inept and unprincipled US vice president who ascends to the presidency.
By Ed Hightower, 26 July 2016
The fourth season of the Netflix series Orange is the New Black, the comedy-drama set in a fictional women’s federal prison, is now available.
By Carlos Delgado, 3 June 2016
Praise for Lena Dunham’s “Girls” generally lauds its “frankness” and “realism” about the unpleasant, even ugly, aspects of life for American youth.
By Jean Shaoul, 5 April 2016
The Saudi ruling family spent $70 billion exporting its particularly repressive form of Islamism through books, the media, Islamic welfare institutions and charities.
By Andre Damon, 24 March 2016
The latest season of the Netflix series suggests that the US government facilitates terrorism to keep a lid on domestic opposition, spies on the population for political gain, and conspires to go to war for Machiavellian ends.
By Charles Bogle, 8 March 2016
The FX series examines the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in June 1994, for which former football star O. J. Simpson was charged.
By Verena Nees, 30 July 2015
The “Trust Fund” is the centrepiece of the EU’s new austerity programme and is aimed at plundering the Greek economy.
By Christine Schofelt and David Walsh, 17 July 2015
Making a direct appeal to debt-ridden youth and branding itself as “anti-corporate,” Mr. Robot raises many issues. But how does it deal with them?
By Kevin Reed, 4 July 2015
Created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky, the series follows the ups and downs of six young men who live together in a Silicon Valley “business startup incubator.”
By Richard Phillips, 13 March 2015
The multi-episode program, which glorifies Australian military involvement in the World War I invasion of Turkey, has been ratings failure.
By Paul Mitchell, 14 January 2015
Downton Abbey, set in Yorkshire, depicts the lives of the Crawley family and their 16 servants in the early decades of the twentieth century.
By Joanne Laurier, 10 November 2014
Adapted from Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, HBO’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge deals with life in a small community on the coast of Maine.
By Christine Schofelt, 28 August 2014
Presented in an almost painterly fashion, the first season of True Detective offers up a sad picture indeed.
By Isaac Finn, 27 August 2014
The HBO documentary reveals how the FBI and mainstream media worked to get four impoverished men in New York state convicted of a “terrorist plot.”
By Charles Bogle, 30 July 2014
The AMC series, about an ad agency in the 1960s, has attracted a great deal of attention for its efforts to recreate the social atmosphere and circumstances of those years.
By Ed Hightower, 20 June 2014
The television series, based on the experiences of a former inmate, takes a generally serious and realistic look—something terribly rare on American television—at the prison population in the US.
By Jeff Lusanne and George Marlowe, 29 May 2014
Recent emails reveal that the producers of the documentary series Chicagoland worked closely with the Emanuel administration.
By Bryan Dyne, 14 April 2014
The remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, has its moments, but does not go far enough either in its exposition of science or its criticism of anti-science.