In an unusual move for the host of a late-night comedy show, Jimmy Kimmel took a strong stand Thursday night against the growing anti-vaccine movement. He raised the issue during his opening monologue on "Jimmy Kimmel Live," ripping parents who have decided not to have their children vaccinated against such one-time scourges as polio, smallpox and measles. While the monologue was comedic in tone -- or at least semi-comedic -- Kimmel's disgust with the anti-vaccine crowd was crystal clear.
Nickelodeon promised a robust (and presumably expensive) commitment to program production in the coming year as the kids' content empire held the first upfront presentation of 2015 Wednesday in New York. How robust? As many as 600 new episodes of both new and returning shows, vowed Cyma Zarghami, president, Viacom Kids and Family Group, onstage in an event space that was once a vast mail-sorting facility inside a landmark, pillared post office on Eighth Avenue.
"Parks and Recreation" went out Tuesday night in the same way it came in six years ago -- with a lot of heart and low ratings. Fans of the show had much to savor and enjoy in the show's special farewell episode. In the show, the stories of every principal character were projected far into the future -- as far as the year 2048. The fact that "Parks and Rec" never ranked high in the Nielsens does not detract from its quality. Somehow, the show survived long enough to complete 125 episodes -- assuring a future for itself in rerun …
If you plan to sample "The Last Man on Earth" this Sunday night, you might begin to wonder where the series can go with only one character as he roams aimlessly around in search of another human being. I had the feeling that if the show were available on some other channel or content service, it might have been hailed by critics. If this strange and offbeat comedy represents an attempt by Fox to mount the kind of series that would be acclaimed if it turned up on any of those other services, then it's a very good try.
A post-Oscar analysis of comments posted on social media during the telecast reveals that many people seem to like it when the stars speak out. Last night's Oscars seemed particularly fertile for this kind of speech-making. Among the topics that came up and scored high on social media were: Patricia Arquette's plea for gender income equality, "Imitation Game" screenwriter Graham Moore's words of encouragement for gay teens who are contemplating suicide, Common and John Legend's remarks about civil rights, and Julianne Moore's comments on Alzheimer's awareness.
In past years, when I wrote morning-after columns in which I reviewed the Oscar hosts, few columns received more passionate responses in greater numbers. If I praised them, I got hammered by those who didn't care for them. If I criticized a host's performance, then I got lambasted by those who enjoyed them. Today, with another Oscar telecast coming up on Sunday, with Harris as a first-time host, I thought I'd share with you some of the best of this reader mail.
John Green, of the VlogBrothers channel, recently essayed about a single oft-quoted line from his 2008 book, "Paper Towns," that's taken on a life of its own. He has discovered that he never wrote it -- and it's not in the book.
AMC plans to turn the final half-season of "Mad Men" into a nationwide cultural event. No less than eight cultural institutions in three cities are planning "Mad Men"-related events and exhibitions to usher in, and run concurrently with, the show's last seven episodes. The episodes begin airing on AMC on Sunday, April 5, at 10 Eastern. They wind up on May 17 -- ending this acclaimed series after seven seasons. Never before has a TV series said good-bye with this level of publicity support from the nation's cultural establishment. AMC announced this rundown on Wednesday.
The makers of next week's all-digital episode of "Modern Family" should be proud of what they have achieved -- turning an idea that might have opened the show to criticism into a superlative episode that breaks new ground in sitcom storytelling. If it hadn't worked, the criticism would have been that the show had agreed much too readily to undertake a stunt that would amount to little more than crass gimmickry. Instead, the episode remains true to this acclaimed series' mission to portray a typical, extended contemporary American family both accurately and satirically.
If you've asked yourself why CBS is remaking a series as well-remembered as "The Odd Couple," then here's an answer. The old one is really old, and it's not likely that it is as "well-remembered" today by vast numbers of younger viewers as older ones, despite its long afterlife in rerun syndication. Call it the TV Generation Gap.