"Moone Boy" is an under-the-radar TV series if there ever was one -- originating in the U.K. and hiding in plain sight on U.S. public television. Whenever I watch "Moone Boy," I am transported to somewhere in rural Ireland, where a 12-year-old boy named Martin Moone lives with his family. To help him navigate the uncharted waters of his life, Martin has a grown-up imaginary friend named Sean, played by Chris O'Dowd. And that, basically, is the show, which was created by O'Dowd, based loosely on his own childhood.
Last week, I got to watch two ovenbirds -- a male and a female -- construct a remarkable home out of mud and grass atop a fence post in a Uruguayan sheep's pasture. I did not travel personally to Uruguay to observe this spectacle. I nevertheless had a front row seat for it, courtesy of TV: PBS' "Nature," to be exact.
Here in New York, we get our nightly news fix at 11 p.m. weeknights when "BBC World News," anchored by the impeccable Mike Embley, airs on one of our local public TV stations, WLIW/Ch. 21. So what's so great about "BBC World News"? For one thing, you are always certain to be brought up to speed on the kinds of stories you hear about piecemeal during a typical day, and then seek clarification and details later, when you have the time to take it all in.
What's the oldest show on TV? I'm referring to the oldest show or shows that you can still watch on TV in their original form from the dawn of the television era. It's an intriguing question because, at the present time, there are more vintage shows airing on TV than at any other time in recent memory -- if ever. They're airing principally on three channels: MeTV (Memorable Entertainment Television), Antenna TV and Cozi TV.
Don't expect this new Discovery series called "New Girls on the Block" about transgender women to be a walk on the wild side. These women are just like you and me, this show seems to be saying -- except that they have had these life-changing (or more to the point, gender-changing) experiences and are just trying to live their lives. The show premieres April 11 on Discovery Life Channel.
Who will slow-jam the news for us now? Perhaps not your fun-loving network anchorman, now that the suggestion has been made in a prominent magazine that the concept of a news anchor is outmoded, like so many other examples of our so-called "legacy" media that have been done in by modern technology. "The network-news anchor as an omnipotent national authority figure is such a hollow anachronism in 21st-century America that almost nothing was at stake" when NBC suspended Brian Williams, said the story in "New York" magazine -- referring to the drama that erupted earlier this year.
It's especially important to note the arrival of "Nurse Jackie" for its seventh and final season. This is one of those shows that tends to fly a wee bit under the radar, but is well worth savoring. One reason is its star. Edie Falco, who became justifiably famous for playing Carmela Soprano, tends to collect accolades everywhere she goes. In the title role of "Nurse Jackie," she deserves every one of them.
I came to the conclusion long ago that a total, all-encompassing understanding of the geography, kingdoms, ruling families and warring factions of "Game of Thrones" was beside the point. For me, the joy of "Game of Thrones" lies not in understanding everything, but in not quite understanding it. It's like a giant puzzle that never coheres in a solution, which means I'm constantly engaged in an effort to figure it all out. I find this show hugely entertaining regardless, mainly because it is such a pleasure to look at.
"Mad Men" has gone and gotten all existential on us. That's one way of interpreting the prominence of the Peggy Lee song "Is That All There Is?" in last night's final half-season premiere. The song's title is an existential question if there ever was one. Recorded in 1969, it was heard at the beginning and the end of the episode, framing an hour whose themes included matters of life, death and sex.
It would be a shame if "Wolf Hall" got lost this Sunday in all the hype over the return of "Mad Men." Both shows are airing at the same time, and I guess it's a situation for which today's deferred-viewing options are tailor-made. And that's a good thing, because "Wolf Hall" is not to be missed. Nor should it be dismissed merely because its story has been told in other recent TV shows and movies. This miniseries stands all on its own, beginning with a mesmerizing performance by English actor Mark Rylance in the show's lead role -- Thomas Cromwell, …