'Now See This' Newsletter: Hello 'Never Have I Ever,' Farewell 'Homeland'

12:27 PM 4/26/2020

by THR staff

Never Have I Ever - Publicity still 2- H 2020

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Ramona Young and Lee Rodriguez.

Welcome to Now See This, THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg’s weekly viewer guide newsletter dedicated to cutting through the daunting clutter of the broadcast, cable and streaming TV landscape! Comments and suggestions welcome at daniel.fienberg@thr.com.

  • Time to Play 'Never Have I Ever'

    Why is Mindy Kaling’s first Netflix series premiering on Monday, a day of the week the streamer rarely (if ever) introduces new content? No clue, but based on THR TV critic Inkoo Kang’s review, it sounds like it might be something special (especially in its later episodes). Although Kang has reservations about the “overpacked clunkiness” of the first half of the 10-episode season, she writes that it “streamlines into a deeply moving exploration of a teenage girl falling apart.”

    What Other Critics Are Saying About Never Have I Ever

    Inkoo is far from alone in her enthusiasm. Sonia Saraiya of Vanity Fair calls it “a breezy, delightful season of television,” while Kristen Baldwin of EW praises star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s “remarkable comedic swagger.”

  • For More Bittersweet Teenage Adventures

    Inkoo and I took a journey back to 1994 with a full re-watch — or “watch,” in first-timer Inkoo’s case — of ABC’s Claire Danes classic My So-Called Life. How does this one-and-done cult favorite hold up 25 years later? Is Rickie still a trailblazer? Do we still love the way Jordan leans? Have we made our peace with how much we’re like Brian Krakow? Read our full retrospective back-and-forth.

  • For More Claire Danes Adventures

    Danes won a well-deserved pair of Emmys for the first two seasons of Showtime’s Homeland and those seasons remain a spectacular example of upending the conventions of the international espionage genre. The show hasn’t been as consistent since then, and this season definitely hasn’t been especially even, but the last two words of the penultimate episode have me properly terrified for Sunday night’s series finale.

  • For More Great Shows Coming to an End

    The final season of Starz’s Vida begins this Sunday. I’ve called it “the sexiest show on television,” but it’s also sad and funny and distinctive. And two of the best series of the spring are wrapping up their current seasons. After you’ve watched this week’s finale of AMC’s Better Call Saul, concluding probably its best stretch of episodes to date, check out my interview with showrunner Peter Gould and Josh Wigler’s interview with the great Rhea Seehorn. And make sure you’re caught up on FX’s Better Things ahead of next week’s fourth season finale.

  • Great Stars, So-So Shows

    There are some big star vehicles coming up this weekend, but Defending Jacob on Apple TV+ and Penny Dreadful: City of Angels on Showtime aren’t as good overall as their casts deserve. I like Defending Jacob leading man Chris Evans, but wrote that “it’s hard to find a single story beat or plot twist … that doesn’t feel utterly stale.” And I love the look and feel of City of Angels, plus headliners Natalie Dormer and Kerry Bishe, but feel the Showtime drama doesn’t live up to previous seasons.

  • Great Stars, Decent TV Movie

    HBO’s Bad Education isn’t exactly a TV movie; it’s just a 2019 Toronto International Film Festival premiere that HBO acquired. But it stars Hugh Jackman, Allison Janney and Ray Romano, and THR’s Jordan Mintzer called it "engagingly devious" in his review from the fest, raving about the cast (and their Long Island accents). It airs Saturday.

  • This Week's THR Staff Pick:

    Senior writer Michael O'Connell has also been doing some re-watching in quarantine. He writes, "It pains me to admit that a Sex and the City re-watch was my first cloistered TV impulse. As evidenced by the 'Woke Charlotte' meme from a few years back, plenty of the commentary does not hold up. Yet I couldn’t help but wonder: Have backlash and decades of derivatives pushed this show all the way down the bell curve? Could Sex and the City be underrated? The portrayal of relationships, particularly the unsuccessful ones, is certainly more timeless than the fashion. And when the ensemble clicks, they freaking click."