You wouldn’t say that World War II is public television’s happy place. You can say it seeded many notable programs for PBS, and two more arrive this Sunday.

Sofia Helin and Kyle MacLachlan in ‘Atlantic Crossing.’

Atlantic Crossing, an eight-part Norwegian series that airs at 9 p.m. ET on Masterpiece, dramatizes the real-life wartime relationship between Crown Princess Martha of Norway and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The first four episodes will be preceded at 8 p.m. ET by the British documentary series My Grandparents’ War, in which four well-known actors — with a lot of help from researchers and experts — dig into the details of their…


One of my first newspaper jobs, in the early 1970s, was editing copy on the night desk at the Daily Record in the small municipality of Morristown, New Jersey.

My shift ended around 3 a.m., at which time I would walk the half mile home to my apartment.

It was a pleasant walk, lit by the moon and a few street lamps and interrupted only by the occasional car tending, as was I, to the business of the night.

At the corner of Coal Avenue I passed an old wooden house with a sign that said “Ice.” I didn’t know…


And so a TV week that began with a series on Aretha Franklin wraps up with a documentary on Tina Turner.

It must be force-of-nature week on cable television.

Tina with her backup singers.

Tina, a two-hour straight documentary, premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on HBO, and while Tina and Aretha were different singers with different stories, it’s hard not to notice a similarity or two.

That starts with their sheer power as musical performers. It also has to include the fact that Turner, like Franklin, had to break away from a dominating and sometimes abusive man.

Ike Turner was Tina’s musical partner as…


Nat Geo’s exhaustive bio-pic on Aretha Franklin suggests it may have been more fun to listen to the Queen of Soul than to be the Queen of Soul.

And you definitely did not want to set your moral compass by The Rev. C.L. Franklin, Aretha’s famous preacher father.

Cynthia Erivo as Aretha.

Those points are explored and illustrated at length in Genius: Aretha Franklin, which runs eight parts and premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Nat Geo will air two episodes a night through Wednesday.

That’s a lot of Aretha, and while her music and her story warrant extensive examination, the sheer length and…


Lest any viewer think Marvel’s new TV series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will follow WandaVision and start with a crazy if delightful detour into a whole different world, it doesn’t.

Left to right, the Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which becomes available Friday on Disney+, starts with 10 full minutes that are solid classic Marvel. We won’t spoil exactly what, but it’s unmistakable and helps explain why the filmmakers reportedly needed a budget of up to $25 million per episode.

It also fits, like every other Marvel production including WandaVision, into the studio’s long game. …


Rock writer and historian Dave Marsh used to joke that before his wedding, his fiancé Barbara told him he had exactly two responsibilities.

He had to dress respectably and he had to make a tape of wedding songs.

The original 1986 release.

I was struck by this because my fiancé’s directive was essentially the same. The dressing part would keep me from embarrassing her and the wedding song tape would distract me enough to keep me from interfering with any of the real preparations.

Her plan worked. Making a wedding song tape, like any kind of theme tape, quickly became total immersion. …


You didn’t have to be a Bob Dylan fan to be thumbing through the albums in a record store in 1965 and stop when you got to the picture of Sally Grossman.

She was the woman in red on the cover of Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home album, the one that included the likes of “Mr. Tambourine” and “Love Minus Zero.” It kicked off the best three-album run ever in the rock ’n’ roll era, since it was followed in rapid succession by Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde.

Alas, “albums,” “record stores” and “1965” are all pretty…


Because like everyone I love a story with a happy ending, I feel compelled to say a few words about the passing of Annabel Montgomery, better known in the political scandal world as Fanne Foxe.

I don’t mean it’s happy news about the 84-year-old Ms. Montgomery’s death, which occurred Feb. 10. That’s sad.

What’s happy is how skillfully she turned The Bimbo Assumption inside out.

For those who weren’t following political sex scandals 46 and a half years ago, this one goes like this.

On the evening of Oct. 7, 1974, a car whose passengers included Rep. Wilbur Mills (D-Ark.)…


Taylor Swift may not be a bad person. She’s giving outrage a bad name.

In case you were distracted by other things happening in the world and missed it, the very popular Swift tweeted on Monday that she was deeply offended by a joke in the final episode of the Netflix series Ginny & Georgia.

Georgia and Ginny.

Georgia (Brianne Howey), mother of 15-year-old Ginny (Antonia Gentry), makes a crack about Ginny’s boyfriend breaking up with her.

“What do you care?” Ginny replies. “You go through men faster than Taylor Swift.”

It’s a pretty routine joke, the kind of wisecrack a teenage girl…


When I heard that former President Barack Obama and rock ’n’ roll star Bruce Springsteen were doing a podcast called Renegades: Born In The USA, I have to admit that wondering whether either Obama or Springsteen seems like much of a renegade these days was only my second thought.

Ginger and Fred.

My first was the famous line about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers: “He gave her class and she gave him sex.”

You may now chuckle for a moment, after which I will explain my thinking.

Astaire was a virtuoso dancer, a precision craftsman. Rogers was known for playing wisecracking street-smart gals…

David Hinckley

David Hinckley wrote for the New York Daily News for 35 years. Now he drives his wife crazy by randomly quoting Bob Dylan and “Casablanca.”

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