Category Archives: TV

The Alienist: What! No Pickles???

The Alienist TV series has gotten pretty good reviews. Here is a squib from NYT

A heady thrill ride with rich characters and an atmospheric Gilded Age New York setting, “The Alienist” begged for a Hollywood adaptation, and movie rights were sold for half a million dollars before the book was even published. But the intricate mystery proved too dense to distill into a satisfying film

From The Mary Sue

The first two episodes of The Alienist were extremely promising. In terms of the depth of its look, feel, and acting, it’s hard to think of anything comparable that’s currently on television. I can’t wait to see where it takes us, although I’m certain that some scenes will make us want to avert our eyes. It’s a good thing the show’s protagonists are so unflinching.

From The Collider

The Alienist is an incredibly ambitious series for TNT, and unlike anything else the Turner network has ever aired. It has a prestige TV feel, and a cinematic appeal, but it’s not yet firing on all cylinders. Throughout its first two episodes, the series hints at many things: the ambitions of an alienist; the monstrous nature of the murderer; the construction and corruption of late-19th century New York; and a show that will continue to improve as it explores the depths not only of its willing amateur investigators, but the depravity of the one they hunt.

One thing is certain, its recreation of the New York dining scene of the 1890’s is over the top.

Image result for Alienist restaurant

Saveur’s Kara Newman interviews Alia Akkam about how this was achieved.

Image result for Alienist restaurant

Here is a tidbit

One of the biggest challenges focusing solely on 1896 is that many of the foods we assume were available then, weren’t. When we were discussing including a display of pickles, I found out that it wasn’t until 1897 that the first pickle vendor arrived on the Lower East Side. If an Italian immigrant wanted pasta in their home then, they couldn’t buy a cheap box of Ronzoni, so what did they do? Making it at home would have been the most economical.

No pickles? No Ronzoni? How did they manage?

The Secret Sauce of Steven King’s Story Telling

King, of course, is hugely popular as a writer. And yet, as Todd Vanderwerff points out for Vox, this rarel,y translates into great adaptations in film.

Why not? Todd argues thta the adaptations tend to skimp on a key component of King’s stories — the build up of a friendly locality. Audiences need to be lured into liking the setting (a small town, for example) before they will react to a threat to it.

Very interesting point. And a new TV series based on a King sotry, Mr. Mercedes may be getting this right!


TV: Good Neighbors is the Best!

Years ago, I took Good Neighbors for granted. I thought it was funny, but nothing special. Now when I watch it again, I realize how foolish I was. It was indeed a great show! “The Mutiny” is one of my favorite episodes. Jerry (one of the neighbors) gets into a tiff with his boss. Tom (the other neighbor) tries to help out. And in the midst of it all, Jerry’s wife has the lead in the town’s play. enjoy!

Dropping Serious Bucks with Rihanna … and More

No no! The famous party hound and singer has not chosen me as a heart throb. But she has chosen to reveal to the five top hotels where she likes to drop serious dineros.

I am reminded of a great episode from a TV series, years ago, “The Duchess of Duke Street”. The series is loosely — very loosely — based on the life of Rosa Lewis, who ran the legendary Cavendish Hotel from Edwardian times to the second war. BTW, Edwardian London saw the rise of the great hotels. Bertie, the Prince of Wales, loved dining out and fashionable London followed him.  If you want to see more, check out a humorous episode of “Supersizer Me“.

Back to the TV series — in this episode called “The Outsiders”, a man with a rather ordinary background chooses to spend his last days at the luxurious and expensive hotel to rub shoulders with the rich and famous. Enjoy!

This, in turn, is a riff on a great 1932 movie: Grand Hotel, starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore. It is a great period piece!