Lori’s List: ‘Superheroes,’ ‘Burton and Taylor’
By LORI RACKL TV Critic October 14, 2013 8:34PM
Helena Bonham Carter and Dominic West in "Burton and Taylor."
Updated: November 16, 2013 6:05AM
“SUPERHEROES: A NEVER-ENDING BATTLE” (8 p.m. Tuesday, WTTW-Channel 11): Superman, Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman — they’re just a few of the iconic characters who’ve made the leap from the pages of comic books into the pop culture hall of fame. Who created these superheroes and what external forces shaped them? A new PBS documentary explores these topics and more in an exhaustive three-part series that airs in one night. It’s required viewing for fanboys. But it also holds broader appeal for anyone curious about the evolution of the comic book genre, its good and bad guys, and its lasting legacy. Rating: ★★★
“BURTON AND TAYLOR” (8 p.m. Wednesday, BBC America): Remember last year’s Lifetime movie “Liz and Dick,” where Lindsay Lohan sleepwalked through her performance as Elizabeth Taylor? Unfortunately, I do. BBC America is here to set the universe right again with its love/hate story about Hollywood’s hot mess of a couple. While no one will mistake Helena Bonham Carter for a twin of the legendary violet-eyed actress, she’s more than convincing alongside “The Wire’s” Dominic West, who brings a troubled Richard Burton to life. Unlike the Lifetime version, the 90-minute movie drills down on the tumultuous reunion that took place both on and off stage during an early ’80s revival of the play “Private Lives.” Rating: ★★★½
“PARKS AND RECREATION” (7 p.m. Thursday, WMAQ-Channel 5): NBC’s criminally underwatched sitcom gets another great guest star. Tatiana Maslany, who was denied an Emmy nod this year for playing multiple clones in the sci-fi soap “Orphan Black,” begins a two-episode arc as Tom’s (Aziz Ansari) latest crush. In other Pawnee happenings, Leslie (Amy Poehler) tries to tamp down a Twitter scandal and Ron (Nick Offerman) does some estate planning. Rating: ★★★½
“REIGN” (8 p.m. Thursday, WGN-Channel 9): Period pieces can be a tough sell, especially to a younger audience. Leave it to the CW network to take a 16th century tale about the young Mary, Queen of Scots, and turn it into a libidinous fantasy with a white-hot contemporary soundtrack and lots of bodices waiting to be ripped open by ridiculously attractive actors (as if the CW knows any other kind). It’s sexy, pretty and fun, but don’t use it to cram for that European history exam. The show plays fast and loose with the facts. Rating: ★★½