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Dominion continues angel apocalyptic saga from Legion

Tom Wisdom and Christopher Egan star in 'Dominion' on Syfy.

Tom Wisdom and Christopher Egan star as, respectively, the Archangel Michael and his human hero, Alex Lannon in ‘Dominion,’ premiering tonight on Syfy.


Dominion, a new action-fantasy series premiering tonight on Syfy, starts about 25 years after the events of Legion, a so-so 2010 end-of-days horror movie that saw mankind beset, not by devils, but by a militant host of heaven led by the Archangel Gabriel. In that film, God finally had gotten fed up with humanity and simply walked away from the entire mess, leaving Gabriel to unleash throngs of lower angels that possessed the bodies of their human victims, beginning the biggest mass genocide in world history.
One of the few things standing in Gabriel’s way was his angelic brother, Michael, who took the side of the humans and did what he could to protect his frail mortal charges against their powerful foes. During the course of that earlier film, Michael managed to find and save a “chosen child” who seemed predestined to save the human race one day – if Gabriel and his minions didn’t kill him first.
Even with Michael’s help, things went badly for humanity and, as Dominion opens in the near future close to the rubble of Las Vegas, heavily fortified city-states have risen from the ruin. One of them, the re-christened Vega, is home to a large population of humans split into a harsh caste system and ruled by two houses: the benign House Riesen, led by a high-minded military general (Alan Dale, The O.C.), and House Whele, overseen by a ruthless and manipulative politician (Anthony Stewart Head, Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
Vega also is home turf to Alex Lannon (Christopher Egan, Kings), a young soldier who has grown up in the retinue of House Riesen and shares a secret crush with lovely Claire Riesen (Roxanne McKee, Game of Thrones). A headstrong maverick, Alex is given to making forbidden solo patrols outside the walls of Vega, looking for pockets of Gabriel’s killer angels. Those forays always earn Alex some stiff punishment from Michael (Tom Wisdom, 300), but as we watch the two of them together, it’s not hard to figure out that Alex is the chosen child Michael rescued years ago.
Meanwhile, in the mountains to the north, Gabriel (Carl Beukes) is again massing his own forces, which now include some higher angels, for a final series of assaults to exterminate mankind forever.
For my money, the creative team of the long-running CW hit Supernatural handles much the same story with a good deal more wit and ingenuity, but if you’re in the mood for straight-on summer action, Dominion turns out to be fairly entertaining, at least in tonight’s 90-minute pilot, which is all I’ve seen. Egan make a very likable human hero, and the special visual effects, still incomplete in the screener I viewed, promise to be pretty eye-popping.
The only real debit I noticed was the performance of Wisdom, who seems entirely too lightweight and bland as Michael, a role played by the formidable Paul Bettany in Legion. The rest of Dominion isn’t boring, however, although Beukes’ Gabriel, the big bad of the show, is barely in tonight’s opener, so he’s still an unknown quantity.
From 'Dominion' on Syfy.

From left, Claire (Roxanne McKee), Gen. Riesen (Alan Dale), the long-MIA Jeep (Langley Kirkwood) and Michael (Tom Wisdom) attend a Vega jubilee that goes horribly wrong in tonight’s premiere of ‘Dominion.’

Holy smoke! Delightful Rev. is back with new episodes

'Rev.' returns to Hulu and Hulu Plus.

Inner-city vicar Adam Smallbone (Tom Hollander, second from right) faces challenges from both church officials as well as his fussy lay reader, Nigel (Miles Jupp, far right) in Season 3 of ‘Rev.,’ which begins streaming Sunday on Hulu and Hulu Plus.


It’s been nearly two years since U.S. audiences have enjoyed new episodes of Rev., the hilarious, award-winning Britcom starring the fantastic Tom Hollander as a stressed-out vicar trying to keep his struggling church afloat in inner-city East London.
That extended hiatus wasn’t due to any quality concerns at its home channel in the UK (BBC2), where Rev. is revered as the highest-rated comedy series (it’s also carried in more than 140 channels worldwide). No, we haven’t seen Rev. for awhile simply because Hollander, its executive producer, co-creator and co-writer as well as star, is simply one of the busiest British actors working today, as is his leading lady, Olivia Colman, who was David Tennant’s detective partner in the shattering murder mystery Broadchurch.
As Rev. belatedly returns with six new episodes Sunday on Hulu Plus, time clearly hasn’t stood still in the neighborhood surrounding St. Saviour in the Marshes. For one thing, at the tiny vicarage, the Rev. Adam Smallbone (Hollander) and his patient wife, Alex (Colman), have welcomed their first child, daughter Katie, now approaching her first birthday (we see the frenzied circumstances of Katie’s birth in the opening moments of the season premiere).
What that means, most pertinently, is that Adam and Alex are dealing with the same stresses they’ve endured before, only with exponentially less sleep, especially now that Katie is going through a bout of explosive diarrhea. “Perhaps Satan is in charge of her bottom because you haven’t baptized her yet,” offers Archdeacon Robert (Simon McBurney) during one of his frequent visits to remind Adam that the size of both his congregation and his church coffers is a matter of growing concern among church officials.
In fact, two such officials – Area Dean Jill Mallory and Diocesan Secretary Geri Tennison (Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine, respectively, both of the Britcom Getting On) – also have stopped by to remind Adam passive-aggressively that, with the larger neighborhood now experiencing a sharp decline in its Christian populations as more Muslim residents move in, some old, high-maintenance churches such as St. Saviour may have to be shuttered.
That motivates Adam to collaborate with local Imam Yussef Hasan (guest star Kayvan Novak) on a fund-raiser to renovate a rusty and dog poo-choked playground in the season premiere. The event is a rousing success, although Adam and his flock are able to contribute only an embarrassingly tiny portion.
Episode two finds Adam on the horns of a different dilemma when two close gay friends of his ask him to officiate at their wedding. That being a no-no for the Church of England, Adam offers instead to lead a prayer for them at the regular Wednesday Eucharist gathering, but that event quickly spirals out of control.
Also returning to their occasional guest roles this season are Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey) as cleric and motivational speaker Roland Wise and Ralph Fiennes as the Bishop of London.
Rev. is the kind of rich, character-driven comedy that rewards faithful viewing, so if you are joining the series in progress, be sure to take advantage of the fact that Hulu Plus is streaming Seasons 1 and 2 as well. Hollander recently has said that he’s not sure whether he’s up for a fourth season as Adam Smallbone, so by all means enjoy the myriad delights of Rev. while you can.
Olivia Colman in 'Rev.'

Vicar’s wife Alex Smallbone (Olivia Colman) unexpectedly goes into labor while her husband is officiating at a wedding in the season premiere of ‘Rev.’ on Hulu.

Tennant plays a courtroom Houdini in Escape Artist

'Masterpiece Mystery!' returns Sunday on PBS.

From left),acquitted murder suspect Liam Foyle (Tony Kebbell) thanks his defense team (Roy Marsden and David Tennant) in ‘The Escape Artist,’ a taut, two-part thriller premiering Sunday on PBS’ ‘Masterpiece Mystery!’


Masterpiece Mystery! gets its summer season off to a white-knuckle start Sunday night with The Escape Artist, a two-part thriller (concluding on June 22) about a brilliant defense attorney whose life and career go off the rails. David Tennant (Broadchurch) stars as Will Burton, the top criminal lawyer in the UK, whose perfect record of courtroom wins has put him on the fast track to ‘’take the silk” as Queen’s Counsel. He even has a perfect family – vivacious wife Kate (Ashley Jensen, Ugly Betty) and young son Jamie (Gus Barry) — to round out the idyllic portrait.
Will’s cases often find him sparring with legal adversary Maggie Gardner (Sophie Okonedo), who is fed up with always coming in second to Will. What seems to be lost on both of them is that their cerebral legal games in the courtroom usually take a heavy toll on the victims, defendants and their loved ones.
Invariably, Will often winds up defending and getting off some characters who most likely should be behind bars (hence his nickname of “the escape artist”), but as he somewhat idealistically explains to anyone who questions him, “Everyone deserves a defense.”
Then, just as Will and his family are heading out of town to their vacation getaway, his bosses hand him the case file on Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell), a reclusive bird lover who stands accused of the horrific torture-killing of a young female medical student. Liam is a self-confessed misanthrope, but he adamantly insists that he is innocent. As Will, on vacation, studies the file, he can’t help seeing that there’s a ton of compelling circumstantial evidence against Liam, such as how his credit card statements reflect that he was a frequent user of “extreme porn” websites featuring the kind of activity that figured in the gruesome and extended killing of the victim.
Once in court, however, Will grows convinced that Liam is being rushed to judgment, especially after the judge refuses to grant a continuance to allow Will’s DNA expert to complete his research. Based partly on that, Will is able to get the judge, in effect, to declare a mistrial on the basis of procedural error. Chalk up another win in Will’s column.
And then Will makes a tiny error in judgment, a small yet crucial misstep that sets into motion a series of tragic, violent events. Even worse, he finds himself compromised by the very trial strategies that once stood him in good stead.
That’s all I’ll reveal about this edge-of-your-seat suspense drama, which has a very satisfying quota of twists and even shocks. Tennant is sensationally good in a role that forces him to play things straight, with none of his trademark Doctor Who twinkle. Okenodo, who picked up a Tony Award just last Sunday night for her performance in the current Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun, is also good in a role that could read as a one-dimensional villainess with a different actress.
Among the other recognizable faces in the large ensemble of The Escape Artist are veteran Masterpiece character actor Roy Marsden as another member of Foyle’s defense team and Kate Dickie (Sansa Stark’s mad aunt Lysa in Game of Thrones) as a Scottish barrister trying to offer Will some urgently needed legal advice in next week’s conclusion.
It’s easy to see why The Escape Artist earned rave reviews when it aired recently in the UK, and the two 90-minute episodes should whet viewers’ appetites for more mysteries to follow under the Masterpiece Mystery! banner.
David Tennant and Ashley Jensen star in 'Masterpiece Mystery!' Sunday on PBS.

Brilliant defense attorney Will Burton (David Tennant) watches helplessly as his happy marriage to wife Kate (Ashley Jensen, ‘Ugly Betty’) is destroyed in Part One of ‘The Escape Artist,’ premiering Sunday on the PBS series ‘Masterpiece Mystery!’

Steven Bochco’s back with Murder in the First on TNT

'Murder in the First' premieres Monday on TNT.

Kathleen Robertson and Taye Diggs star as San Francisco police detectives investigating a pair of apparently connected killings in ‘Murder in the First,’ premiering Monday on TNT.


Ten-time Emmy winner Steven Bochco returns to primetime in his wheelhouse – the cop/courtroom drama – with Murder in the First, an uneven but promising new series premiering Monday night on TNT.
The iconoclastic writer and producer could use a hit right now. Since his groundbreaking NYPD Blue ended its ABC run after 12 seasons in 2005, he’s had two ratings failures. The excellent Geena Davis political drama Commander in Chief (ABC, 2005-06) lasted only a single season, while the quirky legal dramedy Raising the Bar eked out a 2008-09 two-season run on TNT.
Murder in the First borrows the same basic format as Bochco’s 1995-97 ABC courtroom drama Murder One, in that it follows a single case over the course of this 10-episode season. What seemed revolutionary in 1995, however, now seems commonplace. In fact, given Bochco’s career-long reputation as an artistic maverick, the most surprising thing about Murder in the First is how unsurprising it is.
Taye Diggs (Private Practice) and Kathleen Robertson (Bates Motel) star as San Francisco Police detectives Terry English and Hildy Mulligan, respectively, who are investigating two seemingly unrelated murders in the premiere episode. One involves a junkie shot to death in his seedy flophouse apartment. The other victim is a beautiful (and very nude) blonde found dead at the bottom of a staircase inside her home.
In short order, however, Terry and Hildy discover that both victims had intimate ties to an unlikely but high-profile suspect: Silicon Valley boy wonder Erich Blunt (Tom Felton from the Harry Potter movie series), whose technical wizardry has transformed him into the world’s youngest billionaire.
Erich’s initial arrogance when confronted by the detectives starts to crumble as compelling circumstantial evidence against him begins piling up, so he hires super-attorney Warren Daniels (Emmy winner James Cromwell, American Horror Story: Asylum) to represent him in court.
If Erich is the prime suspect, however, Terry and Hildy find another person of interest in Bill Wilkerson (Steven Weber, Wings), Erich’s driver and pilot, who also had had a sexual relationship with the dead woman.
TNT sent the first three episodes of Murder in the First for review, which was a smart move, because Monday’s episode is not especially compelling. In the span of a single hour, the premiere tries to introduce a staggering number of characters as well as laying out the basic details of the two murders. Concurrently, a secondary storyline shows Diggs’ character coming apart under the strain of caring for her terminally ill wife (Anne-Marie Johnson, In the Heat of the Night), a tedious subplot that only serves to distract us from the central mystery.
Robertson is terrific as Hildy, a single mom who is smart, focused and given to wisecracks. Diggs is fine, but his character’s personal story feels arbitrary and grafted on.
Based on the three episodes of Murder in the First I’ve seen, it’s Felton who turns in the most galvanizing performance. Now 26, the British actor spent most of his teen years playing nasty Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter movies, but he has matured into a confident grown-up actor who skillfully plays things right down the middle as our principal suspect, keeping us guessing from scene to scene as to whether Erich is a sociopathic killer or just an innocent jerk. He also has potent chemistry with Robertson in scenes where each is trying to charm the other to find out what he/she knows.
By the end of the third episode, I was pretty firmly invested in Murder in the First, which sports a large ensemble that also includes Richard Schiff (The West Wing), Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time), Nicole Ari Parker (Revolution) and Currie Graham (Raising the Bar). If this show feels like a throwback for Bochco, maybe he just figured if it’s not broken, why fix it?
Tom Felton in 'Murder in the First.'

British actor Tom Felton stars as a young Silicon Valley billionaire who becomes the prime suspect in a double murder in TNT’s new drama ‘Murder in the First.’

TV Land’s Jennifer Falls is a refreshing surprise

Jaime Pressly and Jessica Walter.

Emmy winners Jaime Pressly and Jessica Walter (from left) star in ‘Jennifer Falls,’ a new sitcom premiering tonight on TV Land.


The first time we meet Jennifer Doyle (Jaime Pressly), the title character in the new TV Land comedy Jennifer Falls, she’s getting fired from her job as a vice president at a Fortune 500 corporation. The grounds? Personality problems – specifically, “anger issues” that make her so volatile no one will agree to work with her.
Six months later, a still-unemployed Jennifer insists she is not discouraged. “Evidently, the men in the industry find me terrifying,” she tells us in a direct-to-camera comment, “but the women find me inspiring … and also terrifying.” With no other means of support and a teenage daughter (Dylan Gelula) to care for, however, Jennifer is forced to an option of last resort: moving back to her hometown and living with her acerbic mom, Maggie (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development), a psychologist.
Created by Matthew Carlson (Malcolm in the Middle), Jennifer Falls, which premieres tonight, diverges somewhat from the traditional TV Land sitcom template. Instead of recording in front of a live studio audience, as Hot in Cleveland does, Jennifer Falls goes the Modern Family route, using no laugh track and having the characters – at least Jennifer, in tonight’s pilot – talk directly to viewers now and then. The show also has a bit more edge than most other TV Land fare, although not so much that it clashes with its time slot neighbors.
What is does have in common with other successful TV Land comedies is a splendid cast of TV comedy veterans delivering lively and laugh-packed dialogue. In addition to Pressly, who won an Emmy for her role on My Name Is Earl, the cast also includes Pressly’s Earl castmate Ethan Suplee as Wayne, Jennifer’s brother, who owns a local sports bar. That helps in terms of giving Jennifer at least a short-term job as a bartender, but sadly, Wayne’s wife, Stephanie (the gloriously saccharine Nora Kirkpatrick from Greek), really calls the shots at the business, and she drives Jennifer nuts with her non-stop passive-aggressiveness.
Also on board is the always smart and funny Missi Pyle (The Exes) as Dina Sumac, Jennifer’s recently divorced best friend from high school. In tonight’s pilot, however, there’s tension between the two former besties, since Jennifer had just sent Dina a massage gift certificate when her marriage was cratering instead of showing up to lend a shoulder.
And then, of course, there’s Jessica Walter, who has been TV’s bitchy mom of choice ever since her Emmy-nominated turn as Lucille Bluth in Arrested Development. Her Maggie Doyle is a bit more maternal than Lucille ever was, but she’s still self-absorbed and tactless, as when she tells Jennifer she’s in need of some therapy to deal with her anger.
“Don’t worry, I’ll see you for free,” Maggie says, twinkling. “Or maybe a little yardwork. Just some light weeding.”
I’ve only seen tonight’s pilot, but based on that, I can definitely recommend that you check out tonight’s premiere of Jennifer Falls. Both the writing and performances are well above what passes for the sitcom norm these days.
Missi Pyle

Missi Pyle co-stars as the title character’s best friend in ‘Jennifer Falls,’ premiering tonight on TV Land.

Malkovich makes Crossbones arrrr-fully entertaining

John Malkovich in 'Crossbones.'

Don’t call him Blackbeard! John Malkovich gives a rich, flamboyant performance as Edward Teach in NBC’s new pirate adventure series ‘Crossbones,’ which premieres tonight.


Most broadcast networks rely on a heavy lineup of unscripted “reality” programs during their summer months, so it’s especially encouraging to see NBC rolling out the lavish and almost unlawfully fun pirate saga Crossbones tonight, with Emmy winner John Malkovich as the legendary Blackbeard.
Whoops, sorry. Make that “The Commodore,” because the B-word is frowned upon on the secret Caribbean island where Edward Teach (Malkovich) holds court, some 11 years after his reputed death during a 1718 sea battle. “We don’t use that name here,” he purrs quietly yet dangerously to each newcomer who finds himself in Teach’s presence. His logic? If Blackbeard is “dead,” no one is likely to come looking for him.
From his tropical hideaway, Teach dispatches crews of pirates to retrieve precious treasures that have caught his eye. As the story opens, his latest fixation is the Longitude Chronometer, a new invention that allows ships at sea to stay unerringly on their course. When Teach sends out a massive attack on the English vessel entrusted with delivering the chronometer into royal hands, however, his pirates are in for a jolt: The supposedly mild-mannered medical officer aboard the vessel is actually Tom Lowe (Richard Coyle, Coupling), a spy whom the ruthless governor of Jamaica (Julian Sands) has charged with protecting the invention – and, oh yeah, also assassinating Blackbeard at this earliest opportunity.
Lowe is able to destroy the chronometer during the attack, but the pirates retrieve the inventor’s encrypted notebook containing instructions on how to build another of the devices. In a very ballsy move, after Lowe and his loyal cabin boy, Fletch (Chris Perfetti), are captured, Lowe memorizes the key to the encrypted book, then burns it, ensuring his own continued well-being at Teach’s hands.
As Crossbones unfolds, Teach and Lowe discover a grudging respect for each other, although the old pirate is determined to secure his prize at any cost. Meanwhile, Lowe falls in love with Kate Balfour (Claire Foy from the 2008 Masterpiece Classic miniseries adaptation of Little Dorrit), the pretty and very resourceful quartermistress entrusted with buying and selling supplies in their island community.
Malkovich, as always, is absolutely fascinating in the principal role, sketching in a characterization that is both fiercely intelligent and quirkily eccentric. Coyle, who starred as Piper Perabo’s secret lover in Season 3 of Covert Affairs, makes a splendidly cool foil for Malkovich’s sometimes over-the-top flamboyance.
Crossbones is one of those international co-productions (like NBC’s recent failed series remake of Dracula), so don’t expect to recognize that many other faces among the cast. Special effects are just so-so (the CGI looks, well, computer-generated), but the set and art direction in some of the scenes is absolutely stunning.
Crossbones is no masterpiece, but it has enough energy and imagination to qualify as perfect summer entertainment.
Richard Coyle in 'Crossbones.'

Richard Coyle co-stars in NBC’s new pirate drama ‘Crossbones,’ premiering tonight.

HBO’s Normal Heart beats strong and true

'The Normal Heart' on HBO.

Matt Bomer and Mark Ruffalo (from left) head a stellar cast in ‘The Normal Heart,’ a devastating HBO adaptation of Larry Kramer’s play about the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York.


Larry Kramer’s shattering play The Normal Heart opened Off-Broadway nearly 30 years ago, yet this blistering indictment of public and bureaucratic indifference during the early years of the AIDS crisis had to wait until this Sunday to make its transition to the screen, via HBO’s star-studded new TV movie.
Maybe Kramer’s play – part poignant personal drama, part furious polemic – was deemed too hot to handle by most film and TV producers, although some power players including Barbra Streisand tried to get Kramer’s Heart transplanted long before now.
At any rate, HBO’s stunning adaptation – directed by Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story) from a screenplay by Kramer himself – was worth the wait. To some degree, watching this story at such a remove from the actual events of the play diminishes some of the piece’s power and urgency, but the human drama that remains is riveting in its own right.
Drawn primarily from Kramer’s own personal experiences, The Normal Heart opens in 1981 as gay writer Ned Weeks (Kramer’s alter ego, played by a very fine Mark Ruffalo, The Avengers) and his best friend, Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch, Friday Night Lights), arrive on Fire Island, a gay vacation mecca, for a weekend of partying. Although spirits are running high among most of the participants, we quickly notice that Ned is odd man out, his presence evoking outright hostility from several visitors. Turns out Ned recently wrote a very controversial book that was, among other things, a scathing denunciation of the promiscuity that was embraced by many gay men in those early days of gay liberation.
Ned, a schlubby, socially awkward 40-something who never has had a successful relationship, is regarded as a sour party-pooper by many of his gay peers, so when he starts trying to call attention to a mysterious new disease that seems to target homosexuals, much eye-rolling ensues.
His curiosity piqued, Ned turns to Dr. Emma Brookner (Julia Roberts), a flinty physician who is one of the few doctors treating most of this syndrome’s early victims. She admits that, while she suspects the disease is contracted during sex, she can’t prove it.
Taylor Kitsch, Jonathan Groff and Joe Mantello

Closeted gay New Yorker Bruce Niles (Taylor Kitsch, left) and his friend Mickey Marcus (Joe Mantello, right) desperately seek medical help for Bruce’s critically ill boyfriend (Jonathan Groff) in ‘The Normal Heart.’


After Bruce’s current boyfriend (Jonathan Groff, Glee) falls ill, Ned persuades Bruce and several other closeted gay men in the upper echelons of New York society to help him form the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, but Ned is dumbfounded to discover that many of these “discreetly gay” gentlemen are so paranoid about their personal lives being made public that they don’t even want the name of their new organization to appear on the outside of fund-raising envelopes.
As Emma struggles in vain to raise public awareness and receive more – or, indeed, any – financial support to study what is starting to look terrifyingly like an epidemic, Ned, Bruce and their stressed-out inner circle are chronically at odds over how to be most effective, exacerbated by Ned’s tactless, confrontational style. It’s here that The Normal Heart really soars, making tangible all these years later how chaotic and acrimonious the early ‘80s were for the New York gay community, as a dearth of reliable medical information and a surfeit of public and governmental callousness left those at ground zero to fight relentlessly among themselves, when they weren’t attending memorial services for young, talented friends cut down in their prime.
“We’re losing an entire generation,” sighs GMHC executive director and hospital worker Tommy Boatright (Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory, in the TV movie’s most endearing performance). “Young men, at the beginning, just gone. Choreographers, playwrights, dancers, actors: all those plays that won’t get written now, all those dances never to be danced. … I keep screaming inside, ‘Why are they letting us die? Why is no one helping us?’ “
The seamless ensemble contributes one remarkable performance after another. Ruffalo, best known as a romantic leading man in other movies, doesn’t shy away from Ned’s often abrasive, in-your-face personal style, while Matt Bomer (White Collar) reveals new depths as Felix Turner, the patient New York Times reporter who falls in love with Ned. Roberts, strenuously glammed-down, gives an appropriately testy and vanity-free performance as Dr. Brookner. Kitsch also shows unexpected range as a golden boy and former Green Beret forced by fate to become a completely different kind of hero, and Joe Mantello – who played Ruffalo’s role in a recent Tony-winning Broadway revival of Kramer’s play – has an unforgettable scene in which his character, GMHC board member Mickey Marcus, suffers a complete breakdown from the relentless pressure he and his peers are enduring.
If you were lucky enough to see The Normal Heart during its original 1985 theatrical run in New York or, as I did, in one of the many regional theater productions that quickly followed, you probably remember feeling that you were witnessing something historic, an artistic event firmly plugged into a chilling and still-unfolding real-life crisis that had no resolution on the horizon.
Watching the same story at home, three decades later, with AIDS now regarded as a somewhat manageable health condition, The Normal Heart no longer screams with quite the same unfettered rage. As a time capsule of a truly harrowing time in recent American history, however, it’s close to perfect.
Julia Roberts

Oscar winner Julia Roberts stars as the beleaguered Dr. Emma Brookner in ‘The Normal Heart’ on HBO.