DAVID BIANCULLI

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FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE
July 14, 2017  | By David Bianculli

Netflix, 3:00 a.m. ET

 

SERIES PREMIERE: In the opening sequence, the words of this comedy’s title come up one at a time – so for a second, the first thing you see is a sitcom named Friends. But though Netflix would love for you to confuse this with that classic comedy – after all, it’s about a half-dozen friends who seemingly can’t stop hanging out together, despite other relationships in their lives – there’s no way. In Friends from College, the college is Harvard, the graduates are getting together in New York 20 years later, and they all seem aggressively self-centered. Imagine Friends as populated by the characters from Seinfeld, and you’ll be close. Imagine some of them having vocal sex or secret affairs with one another, and you’ll be closer. But why would you want to be? This sitcom employs some talented performers I really like a lot: Fred Savage from The Wonder Years, Cobie Smulders from How I Met Your Mother, Keegan-Michael Key from Key & Peele, and such supporting players as Greg Germann from Ally McBeal. But only Germann and Savage elicit the right amount of empathy and humor. For the rest, it’s nothing more than Alumni Behaving Badly, and not really worth the time.

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is available on Amazon for $20. (Paperback will be available September 5th, here.)

Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. A high point is the author’s interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer and many others...Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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