‘Castle Rock’ Review

With a cast assembled from the golden age’s best utility players, Sam Shaw and Dusty Thomason’s spooky take on Stephen King’s favorite town is one enticing trip.

To say much of anything about “Castle Rock” teeters on the precipice of spoiler territory, since so much of the Hulu anthology series is inspired by preexisting properties, each with their own devoted fandom.
Within the first few scenes of the premiere, there are enough references to Stephen King’s oeuvre to keep Jack Torrance typing “all work and no play” until the homicidal maniac actually becomes a dull boy. Said references will go unidentified in this review, but known characters, events, and most prominently, settings, keep coming back up throughout four utterly absorbing episodes.

So it should be doubly encouraging to know what’s best about Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason’s follow-up to “Manhattan” is what’s new. The original stories told within Castle Rock — King’s oft-visited Maine town from novels like “The Dead Zone,” “Cujo,” and “Needful Things” — are mysterious and haunting; they can be unsettling

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What You Could Be Watching

la-tv-diva-logo The arrival of Spring always signals mid-season for network television shows, and this year there is a raft of new shows bubbling below the primetime surface, lurking in the shadows, ready to come forth once the major shows are on hiatus. Here are a few of the shows we’re watching, now that the Season Finales of all our favorite shows are on the way.


KILLING EVE (BBC America)

Phoebe Waller-Bridge (who also created and stars in Amazon’s sex-com gem Fleabag) wrote this razor-sharp witty, fun, show, based on the novellas by Luke Jennings. Starring Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) as Eve, a British intelligence analyst who’s bored at her thankless desk job and decides to investigate a series of murders she suspects are being committed by a female assassin – not heard of in the intelligence community as research suggests more murders are committed by men.


The titular Eve makes it her business to investigate, and gets in trouble for running an unsanctioned investigation and is fired. However, she is quickly re-hired covertly to run an investigation to track down and apprehend the assassin.


The assassin, Villanelle (The White Princess‘ Jodie Comer), is a highly skilled contract killer with a penchant for group sex; in contrast to Eve’s boring marriage. Villanelle is a bit of a show off, which the investigators hope will lead to her capture, but as she steadily commits elaborate schemes to effect her crimes, and is armed with a brazen self-confidence, convinced she can’t be caught; we do wonder how long it will be before Villanelle kills Eve.


There are only eight episodes in this first run.


THE RESIDENT (FOX)

The cure for medical-show fatigue is The Resident, about a doctor supervising interns at a hospital. The Resident takes a hard look at the thorny ethical issues surrounding today’s health-care providers, and delivers a refreshing jolt of darkness to a genre that’s too often swimming in schmaltz.


The hospital’s renowned chief of surgery, Dr. Bell (Bruce Greenwood) botches a routine appendectomy, killing the patient, and then bullies his nurses into covering it up; but behind his back, his doctors and nurses are snickering about his shaky hands. Greenwood cleverly creates the type of icy villain we don’t normally get to see on hospital shows.


Bell’s main rival is hotshot resident Dr. Conrad Hawkins (The Good Wife‘s Matt Czuchry). Czuchry walks a fine line between charismatic and obnoxious but brings a rugged antihero edge to the role, and Conrad’s ethical debates with Dr. Bell, where he stands toe-to-toe with his superior and challenges his decisions, are a highlight.


Emily VanCamp (Revenge) stars as nurse Nic; she seems to give Conrad pep talks every episode.


Episode 2 brings in an oncologist played by Providence vet Melina Kanakaredes.


Not all TV doctors have to be perfect, and The Resident goes a long way to expose each character’s flaws.