A Brief History of MTV Trying to Make Old Hits New Again

MTV announced Thursday that it was creating MTV Studios, which will develop new shows and revive old favorites for a variety of platforms and partners. Revivals of “Daria” (with the writer Grace Edwards, from “Inside Amy Schumer”), “The Real World” and “Aeon Flux,” as well as new projects such as “Straight Up Ghosted” (in which subjects attempt to reconnect with the people who have ghosted them) are among the projects the network will presumably try to sell to services like Netflix and Amazon. “With MTV Studios, we are for the…

A Viewer’s Guide to ‘The Great British Baking Show’

Contestants on Season 5 of “The Great British Baking Show” stand with that season’s judges, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, center.CreditLove Productions You may be feeling depressed by the news cycle lately, or by life in these United States of America in general. Even TV has been getting darker and darker, it seems. Fortunately, our allies (at least at the time of writing) across the pond have come to our aid this week with another season of the powerful antidepressant known as “The Great British Baking Show,” which begins Friday…

This Novel Opens With a Suicide and a Suitcase of Cash. Then Things Get Really Interesting.

Of course, readers hoping for a quick-plotted crime drama might feel a little angry as each chapter backtracks to chronicle some new origin story, but they’ll be missing the real brilliance of this book: In its rejection of any fixed perspective, “The Comedown” is able to examine the reflexive and sometimes sloppy ways people construct an identity, how that identity changes over time and how that identity is often dramatically different from the way people are perceived from the outside. Take Leland, for example: Reggie thinks he’s as pitiful as…

Forget ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Get Out’: Most Directors Were White Men in 2017, Study Says

For all the outcry over #OscarsSoWhite and the paucity of women and people of color in prominent roles onscreen and behind the scenes, diversity among film directors remained low last year, according to a report issued Thursday by the Directors Guild of America. The high-profile successes of “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” may have suggested the situation was changing across the board. But the report painted a mixed picture: For films produced and released domestically in 2017 that made $250,000 or more at the…

Oprah Earned This Museum Show. And It’s a Potent Spectacle.

Maybe the chaos extremity of current events has made us wistful for the moral authority of “Oprah Winfrey”: school massacres, police shootings of unarmed black people, men chronically mistreating women, the government’s separation of children from their migrant parents. Whenever somebody pleads for a national conversation — about anything, really — what they’re saying is, “Where the hell is Oprah?” Many a desperate “O”-shaped Bat signal has gone up in the last half-dozen years, and in January, the country believed she was answering it. That’s one way to interpret the…

Making the Language Strange, as Only Poetry Can Do

Hey Everythingtakes great effort. Image The text stutters, doubles back and corrects itself — and seems to include afterthoughts, alternate lines. In many of the poems, annotations appear along the right margin, in brackets and a paler typeface, commenting on and complicating the “real” poem. For example, one section of a poem called “To Hypnotize Space and Time” seems to end with the line “background to a tree” — the “real” last line? — but off to the right dangles this extra-poem part like a postscript: [antlered to another, wiredto…

Review: ‘The King’ Chases the American Dream and Elvis

Wildly ambitious, thoroughly entertaining and embellished with some snaky moves, Eugene Jarecki’s documentary “The King” is a lot like its nominal subject, Elvis Presley. In part, it tells the familiar story of the poor little boy who became a king. But Mr. Jarecki has a second, larger and more complicated story he wants to address, too: that of the United States. Tying one man’s body to the body politic, he seeks to turn Presley’s life — from ravishing, thrilling youth to ravaging, putrefying fame — into the story of the…

A Second Quadrille Set to Start the Joyce Theater Season

The coming season at the Joyce Theater will include the returns of Twyla Tharp and the “NY Quadrille,” as well as a dance play starring James Whiteside and a debut program from Beth Gill. “We want to introduce new companies and choreographers to our audience,” said Linda Shelton, the executive director of the Joyce, in an interview. “But we also don’t want to forget about companies that have been here and have a history here and call the Joyce Theater their home.” To inaugurate the season in late September, five…

Review: Royal Danes Deliver Fresh Shots of Bournonville

BECKET, Mass. — Some paradoxical time capsule hovers around or within the Royal Danish Ballet. Although the choreographer August Bournonville (1805-79) didn’t create the company, he bequeathed it such a wealth of touchingly human choreography that it remains his. The Royal Danes, as they’re known, also perform other ballets, like “Giselle” and new creations. These vary in excellence: In 2011 it brought three modern horrors to New York before winding up with Bournonville, where suddenly the world looked right again. This week, they’re performing repertory by Bournonville and others here…

‘Luke Cage’ Season 2: A New Villain and Respectability Politics

I think what happens with a quote-unquote “brawny” action show, people say, “Oh well, great, if you have a female director she’s going to be great with the emotions, but then when it comes to the camera, when it comes to action, she’s not going to know what to do with it.” And that’s just really — I mean, it’s frankly [expletive]. But, if you want to see real change, it has to start in places where people wouldn’t expect to see a female director, and that was one of…