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[Editor's Note: This post contains a mild spoiler for Dear Edward Season 1, Episode 4.]. Apple TV+’s Dear Edward isn’t just an excellent drama. It’s also literally a “must-watch” series, meaning that if audiences look away from the screen for too long, they’ll miss something crucial. Though there’s plenty of dialogue, every episode has several scenes that play out in silence, sometimes without even music on the soundtrack. And in some ways, the lack of words heightens the impact, because the show trusts viewers to hear what’s unspoken.
Communities often form in the aftermath of a tragedy, from neighbors standing outside a burning house to survivors founding an advocacy group, and in 21st-century television, these ad hoc societies are often tinged with terror: Think of the cult on Yellowjackets, the smoke monster that chases the Lost islanders, or the troupe of artists that learns to kill on Station Eleven. Considering the anxiety that’s pervaded this century — and the catastrophes that have stacked up like leaves on the ground — this fraught tone might almost feel necessary. And that’s why Dear Edward is such a heartrending surprise. Though it begins in grief, it refuses to stay there.
When the story broke in 2019 that a coercive sex cult had been uncovered on the campus of Sarah Lawrence College, you could practically hear the documentary cameras getting set up. There's a fascination with cults on TV — look no further than HBO's The Vow for proof — and, in particular, with how free-thinking, rational people can fall under the sway of a charismatic figure who convinces them to act in ways that both harm them and isolate them from their loved ones. The Sarah Lawrence cult had a grotesque but compelling character at its center in Larry Ray, who moved into his daughter Talia's campus housing and within a couple of years wreaked emotional, physical, and sexual damage on a small group of Talia's friends and classmates.
Anyone eager for a sophisticated dramatization of the Gwen Shamblin story should wait until HBO Max releases its upcoming series with Sarah Paulson. However, those craving a tawdrier take on the life, death, and weight-obsessed ministry of the accused cult leader can fire up their screens now. Lifetime’s new movie Gwen Shamblin: Starving For Salvation may not be tasteful or even very artful, but it lays out the facts with gossipy zeal, like someone screen-grabbing the juiciest bits of a tabloid story and texting them to a group chat. And to be clear: That’s fine. Sometimes, lurid escapism can be just as satisfying as tony drama, and Shamblin’s story is compelling enough for both.
“King of Pop” Michael Jackson’s family has been all over the news lately. The late pop star’s ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley passed away on Jan. 12. His daughter, Paris Jackson, attended the Los Angeles premiere of the documentary Pamela, a love story on Monday, Jan. 30. And that same day, Michael’s son Prince Jackson congratulated cousin Jaafar Jackson on his role as the “Thriller” singer in the upcoming biopic Michael. But what about Michael’s other son? Where is Blanket Jackson now?
This beginning of the year has had some important casualties in the world of acting, entertainment, and sports. One of the most mentioned unexpected deaths was that of Lisa Loring, the actress who played the original Wednesday Addams that the famous television series "The Addams Family" from 1964.
It didn't take long for HBO to give fans of The Last of Us what they want — the apocalyptic drama is officially getting a second season. This comes as no surprise after HBO announced that The Last of Us is the network's second-largest debut after House of the Dragon, with the first episode drawing more than 22 million views in the U.S. alone. Still, the renewal comes early in the season, just before the third episode airs Sunday, January 29.
It’s been 13 years since King of the Hill aired its final episode, but now the show will find new life with a reboot at Hulu after Fox dropped the project last year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the revival has been in the works since 2017, when creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels reunited with the original cast at Sketchfest in San Francisco to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series premiere. But as certain recent animated reboots have proven, not every beloved cartoon needs a modern update.
“I’m not like other people,” Paul T. Goldman says in the final episode of the Peacock series of the same name. And he’s absolutely right. In a time where originality is harder and harder to come by, everything about Goldman, from the way he purses his lips to his dogged determination to the supposed life he’s led up until now, is unlike anyone else. That’s part of what makes director Jason Woliner’s experimental hybrid docuseries, Paul T. Goldman, so compelling. It’s also what makes the show impossible to replicate.
It’s all fun and games until somebody uses their superpowers to start a violent revolution. The trailer for Prime Video’s The Power goes hard on the show's high-concept premise, about all the teenage girls in the world simultaneously developing the ability to conduct electricity through their hands. Playing...
Freeform thriller The Watchful Eye may look like a spiritual successor to Cruel Summer, the anthology that became an instant hit when it debuted in 2021, but viewers would be wise to resist comparing the two. While Cruel Summer’s first season examined grooming and the villainization of women by 1990s media culture, The Watchful Eye layers a Hitchcockian premise with the “eat the rich” sentiment that has taken hold of contemporary pop culture. The result is a young adult drama that’s both compulsively watchable and socially aware, a rare combination in the genre.
When the Black vocal group The 5th Dimension released their 1969 anthem “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” they sought to capture their community’s skepticism about the government. Taken from the counter-cultural musical Hair, the song’s lyrics are a call to action: regain control of your environment, let the sun shine in, and you will have “no more falsehoods and derisions.” Three years later, when Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman to run for president of the United States, she echoed those sentiments in her announcement speech, calling for a need to “reshape our society and regain control of our destiny.” Music captured the feelings of a community, and the community responded with an organized social movement. The New PBS documentary Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World argues that this call and response helped hip hop become a tool for Black Liberation, but as it seeks to prove that thesis, it skims over the inherent challenge of advocating for radical political reform while trying to appeal to a mainstream audience.
Just when you thought media executives couldn't get any less creative when it comes to naming streaming services, along comes Paramount+ with Showtime. On Monday, Paramount CEO Bob Bakish announced that Paramount+ and Showtime will be integrated, with Paramount+'s premium streaming tier and the Showtime linear TV network set to be rebranded in the United States.
He may have the silliest name, but Tricki Woo is the most powerful dog on TV. Consider this clip from “What a Balls Up!,” the Season 3 episode of All Creatures Great and Small that aired January 29 on PBS. Clip provided by Masterpiece. Those who watch the...