TV critic at The New York Times. Also, the occasional film. Theater too.

The Making of Handel’s 'Messiah,' on BYUtv — Not every piece of seasonal television fare is a sitcom's Thanksgiving episode or a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. On Thursday night, BYUtv broadcasts "Handel's Messiah," a decently made documentary about how one of the most beloved pieces of music ever created came to be.

In ‘Naperville,’ by Mat Smart, a Son Returns Home — From a brief plot summary - a son moves back to his hometown to help his mother deal with her blindness - you might expect the set for "Naperville" to be some sort of living room-bedroom combination, a domestic backdrop for yet another play about the Problem of Aging Parents.

'Sleepy Hollow' Recap: A Weird Night That Seemed Strangely Familiar — "Sleepy Hollow," Season 2, Episode 10: "Magnus Opus" Ah, the old anagram gimmick. We saw it in a Harry Potter story (Tom Marvolo Riddle=I Am Lord Voldemort). We saw it in "The Shining" (Redrum=Murder).

Television’s Hissing, Yowling Animal Parade — So much to do during Thanksgiving week. Make up the guest bedrooms. Prepare the dinner. Eat the leftovers. Nap. Eat more leftovers. Nap. Repeat for six or seven days. In short, no time to watch any television, except maybe a football game.

‘Me, My Mouth & I,’ Joy Behar’s One-Woman Show — "She was way too divisive and loud among other things," a commenter using the name juneinct posted in 2013 under an article on Joy Behar leaving "The View," the ABC daytime talk show. "If she never appeared in public again, I would be extremely happy."

'The Newsroom' Recap: Enter the Love Police — Season 3, Episode 22: "Main Justice" "The Newsroom" has never been a sluggish show, but the pace is certainly quickening as it heads toward its conclusion. That's why recaps are vitally important. We need time to pause and reflect on the most burning question of this final season: Which couple do we want to see succeed and live happily ever after?

Hey, I’m Going 55. Cough Up the Cash. — Don't think about this too hard, or you'll be dismayed, but paying people to drive at the speed limit seems to be a better behavior modifier than pointing out to them that they might run over a small child or frail grandmother (or get a ticket).

‘All Relative,’ a Comedy From J. C. Khoury — "All Relative," a tepid romantic comedy written and directed by J. C. Khoury, thinks it's being surprising, but really it's merely weaving several male sex fantasies together and making nothing insightful out of the resulting story.

‘Little Hope Was Arson,’ a Documentary of Texas and Religion — There's nothing fancy about "Little Hope Was Arson," a documentary on the 2010 church fires in East Texas, and that's the beauty of it. The filmmaker, Theo Love, presents the people in the story as they are, without passing judgment and without apology, whether they are investigators or pastors or just ordinary folks caught up in the inexplicable.

Alcohol’s Sudden TV Renaissance — Poor alcohol. It used to have very little competition for television time, since other mind-altering substances were illegal and thus rarely given starring roles. But lately an old newcomer, marijuana, has been generating the TV and Internet buzz, as it were, as relaxed laws have made pot eligible to be something other than the basis for stoner jokes.
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Nov 25, 2014

RT @DLeonhardt: What would North Dakota look like if its oil drilling lines were above the ground? This:…

Nov 25, 2014

@amyvirshup Have it sent to my house. (The turkey, not the repairman.) I'm not proud, or a slave to tradition. I'll cook and eat it today.

Nov 25, 2014

RT @Deanofcomedy: Why police officers are rarely indicted when shooting even unarmed people. My article tries it give context

Nov 25, 2014

Wasn't in the mood but recapped last night's #SleepyHollow anyway. Pls upgrade it w/your pithy comments: #Sleepyheads

Nov 25, 2014

RT @HESherman: “Performers prove age to be irrelevant; for some, curtain falls not.” @globeaucoin @bostonglobe:

Nov 24, 2014

RT @dawnsnarks: Lemme guess, the Gorgon is really Betsy Ross after she got ahold of a cursed needle #sleepyhollow

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