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Dead Tree Alert 1: After the Inaugural

A new President with high approval ratings is taking on a national crisis that no one wants to see him screw up. Can the media cover him toughly and critically? It didn’t do so hot when the President was George W. Bush and the crisis was the 9/11 attacks. Whether it can do any better this time around—and whether Obama will end-around …

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TV Tonight: Gritty and The Beast

I’m not sure I would be writing about The Beast, debuting tonight on A&E, if it did not star Patrick Swayze, which is to say, if star Patrick Swayze did not have pancreatic cancer. The grimy, Chicago-set cop drama itself, of which I’ve seen two episodes, is sort of The Shield lite—which is to say, The Shield dark, but not as …

Jan Kaplicky: 1937-2009

The Czech-born architect Jan Kaplicky has died suddenly in Prague, where he was struggling to overcome opposition to his typically unconventional design for the still-unbuilt Czech national library. Kaplicky was completely an original. I profiled him for Time a few years ago in London, where he had fled after the Soviet tanks rolled …

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Lost Discussion Group: One More Week Edition

Maybe that’s the true gift of “Lost”: In this digital, multimedia age, in which we’re all allegedly off in our own, solitary worlds, pursuing our own interests, loving “Lost” is a communal, interactive experience. It doesn’t matter if your water-cooler is virtual or real — this is a show that you just have to discuss with

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Ricardo Montalbán, 1920-2009

First came news that Patrick McGoohan, star of The Prisoner, had died. Now comes the passing of the star of another seminal, but entirely different, TV fantasy set in a surreal, beautiful yet menacing resort locale. Ricardo Montalbán, who died at age 88, was known, among other roles, as Star Trek’s Khan and the pitchman for the rich …

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The Morning After: Let's Droll

Somewhere on my would-have-been-nice-if-I’d-had-time list this week: Review Make ‘Em Laugh on PBS for Tuned In. That fell by the wayside, along many other matters work- and personal-hygiene-related, but the first installment aired last night on public television stations.

The premise is a sterling example of one of those solid, …

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Patrick McGoohan, 1928-2009

Patrick McGoohan, the creator/star of the brilliant and elliptical series The Prisoner, has died at age 80. His best-known work, which aired in the States on CBS, was a disturbing but engrossing mystery, exploring Cold War themes of paranoia and totalitarianism; in it, McGoohan played Number Six, a former spy who is imprisoned in a …

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