The series premiere of Feud: Bette and Joan (FX, Sundays, 10/9C) is the story of one of Hollywood’s greatest feuds – that between Bette Davis (Susan Sarandon) and Joan Crawford (Jessica Lange) as they made Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (the only time they ever worked together).
It’s also the story of how these two fading stars fought misogyny, sexism and ageism in Hollywood while trying to extend their careers and retain their hard won fame.
When we left David Haller, he was unconscious while his girlfriend Syd Barrett and their fellow mutants – Melanie Bird and Ptonomy Wallace – had returned from their trip inside his mind with no apparent side effects.
In Chapter Four of FX’s Legion (Wednesdays, 11/10C), the search is to find David and bring him back to the ‘real’ world.
Taboo (FX, Tuesday, 10/9C) reaches its season finale in grand style as the chess game between the East India Company’s Sir Stuart Strange and James Keziah Delaney plays out to its exceedingly appropriate conclusion.
The Good Fight (CBS All Access, Sundays) may be a spin-off from The Good Wife but its first two episodes are as good as anything from that show’s run.
The stunning two-hour premiere opens with characters and familiar, seamlessly integrating the two into a new environment – an environment without the Florricks, but with Diane Lockhart moving from the penthouse to the outhouse and back in a way that feels natural and unforced, and surrounds her with a new cast of equals that equals the one she’s moved on from.
Katherine Heigl’s new series, Doubt (CBS, Wednesdays, 9/8C) finds her playing lawyer Sadie Ellis, a star at a boutique law firm – Isaiah Roth and Associates – that is owned by her father. In the series premiere, she begins her defense of Billy Brenna an ‘altruistic pediatric surgeon’ who is accused of having murdered his girlfriend 24 years prior.
She begins to have feelings for him but it’s not a slam dunk that he’s innocent.
The series premiere opens with a woman biking through downtown New York with a careless disregard for traffic (human or vehicular) before skidding to a stop in front of the courthouse. We learn she’s Sadie when her associate, Albert Cobb (Dulé Hill) tells her she’s a menace.
From there, after a quick wardrobe change, she hijacks a press conference with the D.A., bails her father out jail (he called a judge a fascist – his defense… she is a fascist!), and brokers a bail deal for her client.
In short order we meet the rest of the show’s stellar cast – Laverne Cox (Cameron Wirth), Lauren Blumenfeld (Sadie’s incompetent assistant, Lucy), Dreama Walker (Cameron’s assistant, Tiffany Allan) and Kobi Libii (Nick Brady, a newly minted lawyer trying to get a job interview with ‘the Big Dog) – and see the quirks and chemistry that signal a breezy, semi-blue sky series that balances work and personal lives and how the lines between them blur.
Naturally, there’s the witness to whom Billy allegedly confessed the details of the crime – Mike Slater (Lee Tergesen) – someone who has been as clean as a whistle for twenty years after a few very minor transgressions as a kid.
Cue the job seeking Nick Brady…
As a sidebar… errr… B-arc, Cameron is defending a paranoid schizophrenic on a murder charge – a case that hinges on the jury seeing him as he was that day, unmedicated.
For the most part, Doubt’s premiere is well done – the cast is extremely good and director Adam Bernstein keeps things mostly breezy – pausing only for the most important moments of drama (like Billy saying why he’d leave a sixteen-year old girl in a park in the early morning).
Laverne Cox, as the openly transgender Cameron is as good as she’s ever been on Orange Is The New Black and steals virtually every scene she’s in – she is probably the best thing about the premiere.
Gould is magnificently imperious as Isaiah, and Hill is properly earnest as Albert.
The success of the show depends on Heigl, though, and while she is up to playing the complex Sadie as a smart, professional woman, Sadie’s not a character who would be so idiotic to make the mistake of falling for a client – or especially behaving like it. Not with the stakes being so high.
If you set aside that lapse, the show is a tolerable hour. If, like me, you can’t past that major case of idiot plotting – and it was a key element in the show’s premise, it would be best leave Doubt alone.
Legion (FX, Thursdays, 9/8C) is based on a mutant character from Marvel’s X-titles. In the comics, he’s the son of Professor Charles Xavier and has amazing mental abilities that he isn’t completely sure of and definitely not in complete control of.
FX Network finally brings honest to god Marvel mutants to television in their latest project – Legion, which premieres February 8th. I generally love FX programming. They aren’t afraid to push the envelope and go off kilter. The problem with FX shows is they all start very slow and usually take 3 or 4 episodes before they manage to suck you in. They require a lot of patience before things start paying off. Its intellectual television disguised as popcorn entertainment. I know this is a weird statement but work with me.
Taboo (FX, Tuesdays, 10/9C) continues to add layers of character and suspense as it creeps into darker and darker territory.
Blacklisted, James Delaney takes alternative roads to continue his plans to keep the family trading company alive, while the reveal of his secret affair with his half-sister, Zilpha, leads to an unsettling result for her. Meanwhile, the East India Company finds itself in a very precarious position.
What happens when a tech billionaire turns his attention to fighting crime? We get Batman. However, Fox can’t use that character so they gave us Gotham. I’m digressing fast, where was I? Right, billionaire fighting crime. We get Fox’s latest television show APB. This show is every conservative’s wet dream; it basically advocates the full privatization of the police. Did no one see Robocop? There’s even a cop named Murphy. APB, Premieres Monday, Feb 6 at 9pm.
For years its been threatened, but now we finally have a Jack Bauer free 24. Fans never asked for this, it was always the Producers and Kiefer Southernland’s goal/dream to be able to continue 24 without him having to be involved – on camera. I would imagine it’s a pretty intense role to play. So, Kiefer’s desire to get out is understandable. So now we have another attempt to revive 24 with 24 Legacy. Only we don’t get 24 hours to save the world, it’s only 12. 24: Legacy premieres Sunday, February 5th after the Superbowl and will air Monday nights.