Brad Oswald

  • Talkin' 'bout a revolutionary

    As exits go, this isn't exactly one of those momentous, end-of-an-era, void-that-can't-be-filled, things-will-never-be-the-same kinds of farewells. But it needs to be said that Craig Ferguson's departure from the late-night talk-show landscape (Friday, Dec. 19 at 11:35 p.m. on CBS) is significant, and that his contribution to the genre during a decade (2005-14) as host of CBS's post-Letterman fixture The Late Late Show has been unique, consistently inspired and dependably delightful.
  • Return to Dog River so much fun you could spit

    For a place that, by its own theme-song description, doesn't have a whole lot going on, Dog River certainly seems to have a whole lot going on. Financial scandal. Corporate takeovers. Power outages. Public-service layoffs. Water shortages. Illegal gambling. Horse thievery. Courtroom drama. Private-eye intrigue. Romance.
  • Mr. D earns high marks for comedy career

    There's a very long distance, intellectually speaking, between TV's inept and politically incorrect Mr. D and the actor/comedian that plays him. The sitcom character remains forever blissfully unaware of how chronically wrong-headed he is; Gerry Dee, who created Mr. D (as well as another amiably addled alter-ego, Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter), is a man very much in control of his intellect and completely sure of where he's headed.
  • Check out stacks of intrigue at this quirky library

    In general terms, calling a new TV series "preposterous" is not considered a compliment. But in the case of the new sci-fi/supernatural drama The Librarians, it actually, in an offbeat way, is.
  • Local web series chronicles lives of book-club members in eight short stories

    In the cult-classic 1999 movie of the same name, the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club. And the second rule is the same as the first. In the about-to-launch locally produced web series The Book Club, the first rule seems to be that you can talk about Book Club, but you can never actually go to Book Club.
  • Crooner set the world on fire as pioneering multimedia star

    IT doesn’t exactly qualify as holiday programming, but the timing of this week’s instalment of PBS’s American Masters could hardly be more seasonally appropriate. It could fairly be argued that there is no 20thcentury entertainer more closely aligned with Christmas than Bing Crosby, thanks to his association with White Christmas — both the song and the movie — and his long history of family-friendly festive TV specials.
  • Do you see what I see?

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere you flip... That's right, festive-TV fans, it's that time of year again -- with U.S. Thanksgiving and all that Black Friday shopping nonsense behind us, the serious frenzy of holiday-themed TV programming has begun.
  • Toy Story cast heads to seasonal-staple status and beyond

    It's one thing for a TV show to be worth seeing. And it's quite another for one to be worth seeing again and again and again and again. And in order to have any chance of being called a Christmas classic, the first thing a new seasonal offering must do is earn a place in the latter category. Becoming must-see festive TV means gaining a special place in the hearts of viewers and, maybe someday, being a fixture in the annual Christmas-TV calendar (see this section's front page) that inevitably includes such titles as A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, A Christmas Story and It's a Wonderful Life.
  • Here a psycho, there a psycho...

    The term "psychopath" tends to conjure up a specific set of images -- pop-culture creations like Psycho's Norman Bates or Silence of the Lambs' Hannibal Lecter, or real-life serial killers such as Clifford Olsen, Paul Bernardo or Jeffrey Dahmer. But the reality is that those monstrous characters represent only the extreme end of the personality disorder covered by that word, and that it's very likely that you know someone who could rightly be described as a psychopath.
  • No Carrie Bradshaws in this group

    Comparisons can be tricky -- claiming your TV show is like another successful show can invite prospective viewers with an easy point of reference, but it can also backfire if the comparison turns out not to be true. The producers of the new APTN dramatic comedy Mohawk Girls have opted to launch their show with this marketing strategy, calling their show "Sex and the City -- Mohawk style."
  • Well, this is awkward (but not awkward enough)

    There's a lot to be said for a good, old-fashioned happy ending. Most folks love 'em, because they're sweet, uplifting, life-affirming and, well, happy.
  • CBC documentary delves into fascinating, astonishing world of pigeons

    When someone mentions pigeons, the reaction of most within earshot is more likely to be "rats with wings" than "true marvels of the natural world." Filmmaker Scott Harper wants to change people's minds with his new documentary The Secret Life of Pigeons, which rejects the prevailing avian-rodent notion and seeks to re-install the lowly pigeon on the much-loftier perches it enjoyed in centuries past.
  • Americans didn't trust Soviet boss, but TV loved him

    It might be argued -- and actually has been suggested, by some observers of history, politics and television -- that America's first reality-TV star was the leader of the Soviet Union. The new PBS/American Experience documentary Cold War Roadshow chronicles a highly unusual 1959 "goodwill" tour of the U.S. by Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, but the film turns out to have as much to say about the media landscape in the early days of television as it does about the politics and personalities of the Cold War era.
  • Heigl's TV comeback an implausible affair

    There's a lot riding on CIA analyst Charleston Tucker's daily briefing of the President of the United States. The binder she presents to POTUS every morning contains information on the most urgent national-security threats facing the U.S. Clearly, lives -- at least, of the fictional TV-series variety -- are at stake.
  • Recipe for laughs

    There's food, and then there's food for thought. Jim Gaffigan has made a career of turning his love of the former into audience-pleasing servings of the latter.
  • Rumor's celebrating 30th with top-drawer lineup

    Join Brad Oswald at the Free Press News Café at 237 McDermot Avenue this Friday, November 14 for an interactive and laugh-filled chat with the comedians taking part in Rumor's 30th anniversary celebration. The interview begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be live streamed here. If the success or failure of a party depends mostly on the composition of its guest list, then the chances of Rumor's Comedy Club's 30th-birthday celebrations being a great big crazy-fun deal are very good, indeed.
  • Boundary-pushing realism not for all

    Unflinching. That's what the APTN series Blackstone has been during its first three seasons, mining a variety of hot-button topics -- corruption in First Nations government, gang violence, drug addiction and alcoholism, teen suicide, the tragic legacy of the residential-school system, the under-examined issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women -- in order to create an ongoing story that is gripping while also remaining determined to reflect current socio-cultural realities in Canada.
  • The show must go on

    There's this thing about comebacks in Hollywood: they happen to very few actors, and to even fewer TV shows. But the return of HBO's pointedly self-descriptive The Comeback creates a welcome opportunity for both, bringing former Friends star Lisa Kudrow back to premium cable in a revival of a cringe-driven comedy which, when it first aired for a single, non-renewed season in 2005, was pop-culture prescient in a way that made it a little too far ahead of its time.
  • Animal world mating? It's always ladies' night

    'HEY, good-lookin'..." Wait. What? What made me say that? What makes me, or you, or anyone else, decide that someone else is attractive?
  • She's hard to watch, but worth the discomfort

    Life is full of choices. If you choose to be a disagreeable person, you might live a rather unhappy life and end up alone.
  • He's a real smart-ass

    Demetri Martin likes to draw. And play musical instruments. And tell stories, and write poems. And create complex mathematical analyses of verbal constructions. And compose mind-bogglingly lengthy palindromes. But more than anything else, Demetri Martin likes to tell jokes.
  • Switch in storytelling style for Republic of Doyle sendoff

    In the TV-series business, this undoubtedly ranks as the ultimate luxury: doing your show exactly the way you envisioned it, enjoying a multi-season run and then exiting on your own terms in a way that allows you to end your beloved characters' stories in a sensible and satisfying way. As the sixth and final 10-episode season of Republic of Doyle plays out, series creator/writer/producer/star Allan Hawco is fully aware of the fortunate position he's in.
  • Timely doc details rise of terrorist group

    What most westerners know about the current goings-on in Syria and Iraq would probably best be summed up by this too-simple sentence: "It's terrible."
  • Murder? Mayhem? How very vexing!

    For decades, PBS has catered to the whims and desires of two distinct groups of imported-drama fans: those who revel in a lavishly appointed costume drama, and those who love trying to unravel a rollicking, old-fashioned whodunit. This weekend, both get what they want at the same time in the form of Death Comes to Pemberley, a clever, complex and beautifully executed yarn that combines the heartstrong characters of Jane Austen with the crime-caper-crafting brilliance of P.D. James.
  • Confusing Constantine pilot has potential, but cast change means preview pointless

    Will the new Friday-night drama Constantine turn out to be a damnable mess or one hell of a good time? A pilot episode is supposed to offer viewers a pretty good indication of whether a newly arrived show is worth watching. In the case of this DC Comics adaptation, however, the first hour produces more questions than answers.


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