April 15, 2011 | 9:16 a.m.
For fans of fantasy, the arrival of HBO’s “Game of Thrones“ is a massive moment of anticipation and anxiety — few films, shows or games will arrive this year with more pent-up interest or potential, but Hollywood has been a heartbreaker before, so there’s a healthy anxiety amid the emotion. I watched the first three episodes and (for me) the show absolutely delivers. Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara was also swept up by the conquests and conspiracies of Westeros. Here’s an excerpt from her review: The first 10 minutes or so of HBO’s new epic fantasy series “Game of Thrones” are spent celebrating the glories of cable, i.e. bloody violence (beheadings, hacked off body parts, eviscerated guts steaming in the snow) and HBO sex (female semi-frontal nudity, non-missionary position intercourse and unnecessarily graphic sound effects). Unless you are a minor, you should not be […]
Oct. 30, 2010 | 6:59 a.m.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara says its a special time for the moaning, shambling corpse crowd… Zombies are back in a big way this Halloween, with “The Walking Dead” premiering on AMC and the British miniseries “Dead Set” on IFC. Frankly, it’s not a moment too soon. We’ve all but ruined all the other good monsters, turning perfectly decent vampires and werewolves into sad-eyed pin-up boys (and girls), reducing the dimensions of evil and corruption they once represented to eternal adolescent angst. But zombies, well, there’s not much you can do to a zombie. You can fiddle with their land speeds and their raison d’être (Worldwide pandemic? Overbooking in hell?) but there ain’t no way you’re going to make a zombie sexy. Not even the mopey, seasonal-disorder-plagued Bella could fall for a guy whose jawbone is hanging by a decayed thread. […]
Sept. 20, 2010 | 6:03 p.m.
Times TV critic Mary McNamara reviews one of the more highly anticipated and mysterious new shows of the season. “The Event” happens Monday night, and according to McNamara, you should be there. Welcome back to the big leagues, NBC. With Monday night’s premiere of “The Event,” the network that as recently as last year seemed hopelessly mired in creative and financial chaos has finally located a tent pole, a new show as big, brash and promising as “Heroes” was a few years back. Though flashing the post- 9/11 mythology of “24″ along with the fractured time frames of “Damages,” “The Event” unfurls a much larger canvas on which a disparate cast of characters, from Jason Ritter’s engaging young Everyman, Sean Walker, to Blair Underwood’s recently elected President Martinez, are caught up in a net of mysterious and lethal situations all […]
July 18, 2010 | 9:19 p.m.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara has an undying (and undead) affection for “Dark Shadows,” that grand old gothic soap opera, and she carried her torch to a scary place this weekend — the Los Angeles Marriott at Burbank Airport. There were, mercifully, no vampires in attendance at this weekend’s “Dark Shadows in the Sun” convention. Sure, there were a few Victorian cape coats, at least two wolf-head canes and several “Barnabas Collins for president” T-shirts (though with Johnny Depp’s face rather than that of role creator Jonathan Frid). But nowhere to be seen were the bouncing, writhing goth-tramp girls and boys who show up for “Twilight” premieres or appearances by the “True Blood” cast. This may have been due to the convention’s location — the Burbank Airport Marriott does not scream “fetch me my plum-colored waistcoat” — or […]
June 22, 2010 | 11:20 p.m.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara is in Orlando to review the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Her full review will run later this week, but here’s a few quick dispatches from the scene. Click on the photos to go to a full gallery. Although Universal Orlando doesn’t release numbers on park attendance, the first week crowds for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter seem to have taken officials by surprise. Those staying at the resort hotels are allowed in the Islands of Adventure Park one hour before the 9 a.m. opening time, but the crowd at the gate forms much earlier. Once inside, those wanting to visit Harry first thing are channeled into a line that swoops around the park in an effort to keep the Wizarding World from being overrun. Hundreds of guests […]
June 21, 2010 | 11:55 p.m.
Los Angeles Times television critic Mary McNamara is in Orlando to review the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Her full review will run later this week but here’s a few quick dispatches from the scene. Click on the photos to go to a full gallery. I never realized it was so hot and humid in Hogsmeade or that snow could look so convincing in Florida. Lines for Honeydukes and Ollivanders are longer than for the two smaller rides, which are great, by the way. And as for the ultimate question — can Universal out-disney Disney? — the answer is apparently yes. Forget Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey is now officially the coolest ride on the planet. Don’t drink the pumpkin juice, though. The saucy schoolgirl look that has made knee socks and pleated […]
Jan. 22, 2010 | 7:21 p.m.
Mary McNamara, the television critic for the Los Angeles Times, was one of the strongest voices among the chorus of critics who hailed “Battlestar Galactica” and now she has high hopes for the spinoff series, “Caprica,” which begins tonight. But, she writes, the series is off to a bit of a slow start. In the midst of all its programming woes, NBC has managed to achieve something close to the impossible — a prequel series that should not only please all comers but may expand the demographic of science fiction fans everywhere. Debuting on SyFy (though it could just as easily be moved to that barren 10 p.m. slot on NBC), “ Caprica” is set 58 years before the Cylon wars that propel “ Battlestar Galactica” and tells how the Cylons came to be. The shows may share the same […]