Television: Globes, ‘Atlanta,’ ‘Taxi’ and a limo

Some things old, some things new, and something ‘Blue.’

December 15, 2016 18:54
3 minute read.

'Atlanta'. (photo credit: PR)

The Golden Globe nominations – a precursor of both the Oscars and the Emmys – were just announced, and while the nominees are mostly the usual suspects, a few newcomers have made the cut.

This is most pronounced in the Best Dramatic Series category, where there is only a single repeat nominee, predictably, Game of Thrones. The others are a varied group: the techno-western sci-fi Westworld; the multi-era family saga, This Is Us; The Crown, a historical drama about the young Queen Elizabeth II; and Stranger Things, an extraordinary sci-fi drama set in the 1980s that I hope will be coming to at least one of the Israeli cable networks soon.

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In the Best Comedy Series category, Veep, Transparent, Blackish and Mozart in the Jungle are joined by Atlanta, a new series that is coming our way this week (more on that below).

The acting nominations illustrate how much movies and television now draw from the same pool of actors. Winona Ryder, once a movie queen, was nominated for Best Actress in a Dramatic Series for her performance as a mother coping with her son’s disappearance in Stranger Things, while Liev Schreiber, Nick Nolte, John Travolta, Billy Bob Thornton, Charlotte Rampling and John Turturro, certainly known primarily as movie actors, all got nods for their small-screen work.

The extremely well-done series Atlanta is coming to YES Oh on December 21 at 10 p.m. and on YES VOD. Set among African- American rappers in Atlanta, where there is a thriving music scene (in the documentary Presenting Princess Shaw, she travels there to try to get gigs), it was created by and stars Donald Glover. Glover starred as Troy on Community and was a writer on 30 Rock, among many other shows. In Atlanta, he’s the manager for his cousin, Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), an aspiring rapper. It can be surprisingly slow paced at times, and it’s hard at first to get used to all the slang. But if you stick with the series, it pays off.

It has been compared to a lot of other shows, even The Wire, for its gritty urban setting, but it reminds me of Entourage in that it’s about the inner workings of a business we tend to associate with fun, and it’s a portrait of a bunch of guys who spend a lot of time hanging out, waiting to hear back from people who can make or break their careers.

Until recently, I didn’t pay much attention to the CBS Channel on YES, which has a bizarre assortment of shows that were never hits, but now it is showing Taxi, the classic late 1970s/early ‘80s show with Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza and Jeff Conaway. Has there ever been a more wonderful comedy ensemble? Two episodes run in the morning, afternoon and evening Monday to Friday, and the show is as much of a joy as it was more than 30 years ago when it first came out.

On the Israeli entertainment channel on HOT, you can see Metallic Blues on December 16 at 6:05 p.m. and on December 17 at 3:05 p.m. Directed by Dan Verete, this movie had the misfortune to be released in 2004, the watershed year of the Israeli cinema renaissance, when it was overshadowed by such hugely successful movies as Avi Nesher’s Turn Left at the End of the World, Eytan Fox’s Walk on Water and Joseph Cedar’s Campfire.

But Metallic Blues is an enjoyable fish-out-of-water/road movie, with two down-on-their luck Israelis going to Germany to sell a classic limousine they managed to buy cheaply. Avi Kushnir and Moshe Ivgy play the friends, and Ivgy is particularly affecting as a guy who just wants to build an extra room for his apartment so his daughter doesn’t have to sleep in the living room. There are some serious scenes in which the characters examine their attitudes toward Germany, but the best parts of the film detail the conflict between the Israelis’ laid-back attitude versus the Germans’ more rule-oriented worldview. Anyone who lives here, especially immigrants, will get the comedy here.

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