DAVID BIANCULLI

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THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
November 29, 2017  | By David Bianculli

Amazon Prime Video, 12:00 a.m. ET

 
SERIES PREMIERE: I’ve been binge-watching this new Amazon series all night – seven episodes in now, and counting – because after seeing the few episodes sent out for preview, I couldn’t wait to see more. And each episode has, indeed, gotten even better than the utterly charming pilot. The opening episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is created, written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girls fame, and is a Mad Man era comedy-drama, mostly comedy, that seems to borrow some of the most winning elements from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, One Day at a Time and other vintage sitcoms about young women fighting to make their own way in the world, in the workplace and at home. Rachel Brosnahan is the star here, playing Midge Maisel, whom we meet on her wedding day, giving her own very funny toast. Before long, she has two kids, while accompanying and supporting her husband as he pursues a misguided dream of becoming a nightclub comic in New York. When he walks away from that dream, he also walks away from Midge, leaving her with two kids, retreating to her parents’ uptown apartment – and, eventually, stumbling into a shot as a standup comic on her own. Brosnahan is a force of nature in this show, as dynamic and instantly sympathetic as Lizzy Caplan in Showtime’s Masters of Sex – and she has solid timing as a comic, which is tough to fake. Her co-stars include Alex Borstein from MADtv, in a career-best role as Midge’s would-be manager, and the great Tony Shalhoub as Midge’s father. The show also has a nicely recreated late-Fifties, early-Sixties period, which allows, in comedy terms, for such name-drops and other references to the likes of Lenny Bruce, Nichols & May, Bob Newhart, Tom Lehrer, Redd Foxx and Mort Sahl. I’m loving Midge’s journey, and, so far, this show. In the last lap of 2017, Amazon just may have slipped in one of the year’s best. For a full review, see David Hinckley's All Along the Watchtower.
 
 
 
 
 
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