People

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content

Archive

Picks and Pans Main: TV

Posted on

SUMMER CATCH-UP!

It’s marathon weather! Use these scorching days to discover incredibly cool shows you may have missed

SCANDAL

AVAILABLE ON HULU PLUS

With season 2, ABC’s political melodrama starring Kerry Washington shot to delirious heights: What other show has a President as a lovesick stalker? Snack food of the highest quality. (BET will be repeating both seasons as a marathon in August.)

THE AMERICANS

iTUNES

FX’s new drama about a suburban couple spying for Russia in the 1980s has the pinched, furrowed sadness of a John le Carré espionage novel. With fine performances by Matthew Rhys and especially Keri Russell, it’s as much a portrait of a deteriorating marriage as it is a thriller.

HOUSE OF CARDS

NETFLIX

Kevin Spacey, prince of deadpan disdain, plays a U.S. Congressman who’s reached middle age and realizes he’ll have to shove a few people off and under the merry-go-round if he’s to grasp the brass ring. The British original (also on Netflix) is fleeter and funnier. But watch Spacey’s version first.

TOP OF THE LAKE

iTUNES

Oscar-winner Jane Campion directed this brooding, brutal New Zealand miniseries about a cop who returns to her hometown and gets caught up in a case. (Sundance will rerun the whole thing June 28.) Elisabeth Moss, continents away from Mad Men, is excellent as the cop.

THE FOLLOWING

AMAZON INSTANT VIDEO

The breathless FOX hit pits FBI agent Kevin Bacon against serial killer James Purefoy, a literary poseur whose true genius is for orchestrating crimes from behind bars.

Big Brother

CBS, Sundays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. ET/PT; Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT |

REALITY

Big Brother has become a hot-button topic because two players, notably a college student named Aaryn, have made racist comments to and about other house members. Shouldn’t these people be told before shooting that hate speech won’t be tolerated? That a panel will slide open under their feet and they’ll fall down a long shoot that deposits them on a distant landfill? You can argue that the show is simply letting us see these contestants for their true, unfiltered selves. And yet Aaryn’s insults, even though they upset her housemates, have not (so far) been a determining factor in anyone’s strategy. The big buzz remains about how to eject the strong. Racism? That’s simply one card to be played from a large deck. Wrong.

COMMENTS? WRITE TO TOM: tomsreviews@peoplemag.com