'Boardwalk Empire' Episodes Two and Three: 'The Ivory Tower' and 'Broadway Limited'
October 04, 2010

The difference between the pilot episode of “Boardwalk Empire” and the next two episodes is the difference between movies and TV. That's not a slam on the second and third episodes. The pilot, directed by Martin Scorsese, was brazenly cinematic. Compensating (or maybe overcompensating) for having to carry the burden of exposition, it worked hard to avoid boring viewers and to plant as many narrative seeds as possible.  “The Ivory Tower” and its follow-up, “Broadway Limited,” go in the other direction.

'Mad Men' Mondays: 'The Good News'
August 08, 2010

This is the new column in TNR’s weekly series of"Mad Men" episode recaps. Caution: It contains spoilers. Click here for last week's review. An episode of a post-"Sopranos" quality cable series often focuses less on the plot and more on the psychology of its characters, the sociology of its setting, and a vividly evoked sense of place. That's why, when fellow viewers ask me to name a "best" episode of such programs, I am often not sure what to say. On a show like "Mad Men," the individual chapters are all of a piece.