The more complex our personal technology gets, the more eager television is to take advantage of it. In the case of interactive TV, that now means the ability to vote on contestants and otherwise effect the outcome of what transpires shows – often in real time. But as our TV critic David Bianculli notes, this new “interactive” wrinkle actually is as old as television itself. In fact, even older.

Listen to the piece and follow along with images here.

Fresh Air TV critic David Bianculli (of tvworthwatching) reviews the new HBO series Doll & Em, starring real life best friends Dolly Wells (left) and Emily Mortimer.

After a traumatic break up, Dolly leaves England for Los Angeles to serve as Emily’s personal assistant while she films a movie. The two must navigate the “fairly rigid Hollywood class system,” exposing vanity and insecurities along the way. Bianculli writes:

What weighs down this sitcom, especially at first, is its lack of subtlety. Plot points, like recurring jokes, are hammered home too hard and much too obviously. Even the closing theme song, “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” telegraphs that things will get worse before they get better.

Despite all that, though, if you stick with Doll & Em, eventually it will stick with you, too. And as the central dynamic shifts and the friendship unravels, you’ll care about both of them, and what happens next.

image via HBO

David Bianculli of tvworthwatching reviews the new NBC show Crisis:

Crisis pleasantly surprised me. It’s about a busload of high school kids – children of the very powerful, including the President,  in Washington, D.C. – whose field trip to New York gets detoured by kidnappers, who grab the kids and use them as leverage to get their parents to do their bidding.

 I know, this sounds so much like Hostages, it could almost be a rerun – except, this time around, the characters are painted with more depth, drama and surprises are a lot more plentiful, and Crisis starts out almost like a season of 24  – except without the ticking clock, and without Jack Bauer.


Our TV critic, David Bianculli, reviews the season openers of Game of Thrones, Veep, and the new series Silicon Valley:

HBO presents three series Sunday night – the season premieres of Game of Thrones and Veep, and the start of a new comedy, Silicon Valley.  But whether they’re set in mythical kingdoms, Washington, D.C. or Northern California, these three very different shows have two things in common. One is that they’re all entertaining, with characters that get more interesting the more you watch them. The other is that, bottom line, they’re all about power struggles.

Hear the full review here

Bianculli is the founder and editor of tvworthwatching