‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

More-Andre-Braugher-and-Andy-Samberg-of-Brooklyn-Nine-Nine_For the uninitiated, this goofy police comedy — now in its second season — feels a lot like the 1970s series “Barney Miller” (if you’re under 30, look it up). Also, it’s worth tuning in just to see Andre Braugher’s brilliantly deadpan performance as the precinct captain. The rest of the ensemble (Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti, Joe Lo Truglio and Melissa Fumero) also excel at “bringing the funny.” 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, on Fox



‘Revival’ by Stephen King

Scribner, 416 pp., $30

Stephen King’s second new novel this year (his straight-up detective novel “Mr. Mercedes” published in June) is mostly a return to creepy form for the prolific author of horror and suspense.

In his new novel, “Revival,” King gives us a relatable narrator/hero and a villain with power issues. Then he has them drift in and out of each other’s lives over the next 50 years, leading up to an electric finale where good triumphs (the reader hopes) over evil.

When we first meet hero Jamie Morton, it is October of 1962 and he is 6 years old, playing in the dirt outside his family home in rural Maine. We also meet the Reverend Charles Jacobs, a charismatic young preacher who has moved to town to take over the pulpit at the First United Methodist Church of Harlow. He also has an odd fascination with electricity.

We follow Jamie through his first young love and the discovery of his talent for playing guitar. Jamie goes on to discover fame and all its pitfalls. King clearly wants the reader to identify with Jamie, and the passages about his family life and relationships can be quite touching.

The Rev. Jacobs suffers a loss early on — described in grisly detail — and while he continues, in a fashion, to preach, his life and fate are forever determined by this tragedy.

And this is my one small complaint with the story. Jacobs leaves the church and doesn’t surface again until decades later, running a sideshow carnival specializing in “portraits in lightning.” Later, he becomes a revival-show healer, devolving into a reclusive, evil villain. The reader has spent the majority of time with Jamie, and not enough time with Jacobs to understand this transition.

This is not to say that fans won’t love King’s new novel. I think they will. The characters feel like real people, and their reactions to events — everyday and supernatural — are believable.   They might even find themselves (as I did) reading this tale of morality, redemption and faith long into the night.

‘Into the Woods’

A new trailer. I can’t wait.

‘Olive Kitteridge’

newerhbofmThe final two hours of this four-part miniseries based on Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel airs tonight. The tale is set in a small New England town and stars Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins, Bill Murray and John Gallagher Jr. It was directed by Lisa Cholodenko (“The Kids Are All Right”). Parts 3 and 4 premiere 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, on HBO.

‘The Returned’

returnedHalloween is over, but if you’re still in the mood for something unsettling and creepy, be prepared to lose an afternoon to Season 1 of this French series about a village dealing with returning residents, long thought dead. Yes, Season 2 is currently filming — due in 2015 — and an American remake (sigh) is in the works. Marathon begins at noon Sunday, Nov. 2, on Sundance.




Troublemaker. Human hand grenade. Kind of a genius. Alcoholic. These are a few of the many words used to describe Dan Harmon in Neil Berkeley’s sweet documentary/profile about the creator of the TV comedy “Community.”

Harmon was famously fired as that show’s producer in 2012 and then set off on a cross-country bus tour to promote his podcast “Harmontown,” with Berkeley tagging along to record the journey.

Although Harmon resembles a scruffy teddy bear, the documentary shows his personality can be a bit prickly. During the tour, he argues with his girlfriend, the director and Hollywood suits, via telephone. He then uses tour stops as sort of stand-up comedy/therapy sessions.

Comedian Sarah Silverman, who worked with Harmon on her self-titled TV show, sums it up by saying, “I’m his biggest fan, and I fired him.”

Early in the history of the podcast (which is recorded live in the back of an L.A. comic-book store), Harmon called audience member Spencer Crittenden up on stage for a game of “Dungeons and Dragons” (they play a live version of the role-playing game). Crittenden defines the term geek. He doesn’t socialize much and lives with his parents. It’s amazing to watch him become the official “Dungeon Master” of the podcast, then an integral part of the show and tour and a sort of a reluctant star of the film.

The film ends up as a sort of tribute to the Spencers of the world.

Harmon states at one point in the film that he just wants to be “the guy who makes people happy.” This documentary does just that. And any film that opens and closes with a cat relating to the camera scores extra points from me.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers