By Nate Bloom
ON THE SMALL SCREEN
Miracle Workers, a comedy, starts Feb. 12 (10:30 p.m.) on TBS. Daniel Radcliffe, 29, (Harry Potter) stars as Craig, a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity’s prayers. His boss, God (Steve Buscemi), spends most of his time on his hobbies rather than attending to mankind’s problems. The series is based on a novel by Simon Rich, 34. He’s the son of Frank Rich, 69, the former New York Times theater critic and opinion columnist who now writes for New York magazine. As I’ve noted before, Radcliffe’s mother is Jewish, and he identifies as Jewish although he isn’t religious.
AT THE MOVIES
Cold Pursuit is an action thriller with a lot of irreverent comic lines. Nels Coxman (Liam Neeson) works for Kehoe, a small town. He keeps its roads plowed during its long winters. Coxman and his wife (Laura Dern) are devastated by the death of their son, who probably was involved with drug dealers. Coxman turns into a vigilante, killing one-by-one the associates of a drug lord he believes caused his son’s death. Sometimes he uses his snowplow.
Emmy Rossum, 32, plays Kim, a rookie Kehoe police officer who doesn’t have much to do until dead bodies start turning up everywhere. Rossum is best known as the co-star of the hit Showtime series Shameless. She announced last August that she would leave the show at the end of its ninth season. Her last new episodes began airing on Jan. 20.
OVER ON NETFLIX
You, a surprise hit Netflix series, began as a 2014 novel of the same name by Caroline Kepnes, 42. Kepnes said that when she wrote the novel (2012) she was in a dark place because of the death that year of her (Jewish) father. (Her mother isn’t Jewish). The novel follows Joe Goldberg, a 30-ish bookstore manager, who stalks and then dates Beck, an attractive and intelligent female college student. He quietly gets rid of anything or anyone who interferes with his obsession with Beck.
Joe, a good-looking and deceptively charming fellow, is described as being Jewish on his father’s side in the novel. But his religious background is left unmentioned in the TV series.
Last fall, the 10-episode first season of You aired on Lifetime, which is not generally known for high-quality shows. The series was developed by and mostly co-written by Greg Berlanti and Sera Gamble, 35. Gamble’s parents, both doctors, left Poland in 1968 following an anti-Semitic campaign by the Communist government that drove out most of the remaining Polish Jews (around 20,000). Sera, who was born in the States, had a Jewish religious upbringing.
Lifetime decided not to renew the series despite good reviews (ratings were so/so). Netflix then opted to re-run the first season last December, where it found a very big audience. I understand the appeal: The You main characters are much more vivid and multi-layered than the usual stalking story characters. When first encountered, they remind you of the types of characters that appear in a charming romantic comedy. But Joe’s “dark side” takes that “rom-com” trope into a wholly unexpected and morbidly fascinating place. A second Netflix season, probably based on the Kepnes’ sequel novel, Hidden Bodies, is now being made.