New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Watch This Instead

ShareThis

It isn’t absolutely necessary to hide out all summer from your enemies, or abuse a guitar, or undergo major surgery. You can disappear for three and a half hours into the latest American institution to get Frederick Wiseman’s unexcelled documentary treatment, State Legislature (Channel 13, Wednesday, June 13, 9 p.m.), in which the “citizen legislators” of Idaho deliberate in committee meetings, public forums, lobbyist appointments, and on the assembly floor about everything from teachers’ salaries and mad-cow disease to illegal immigration and secondhand smoke. Wiseman, who never comments himself, signals his approval by concluding with a bagpipe version of “Amazing Grace.” … Wallace Shawn’s The Fever (HBO, Wednesday, June 13, 9:30 p.m.), with Vanessa Redgrave as a Western woman of culture and privilege, suffering a night of flashbacks and hallucinations on the cold tiles of a hotel bathroom in an impoverished country in the middle of a civil war, ought to be more affecting than it is. With the help of Joely Richardson, Geraldine James, and Rade Sherbedgia as well as on-camera monologues, live-action drama, animation, and archival footage, Redgrave’s character will discover her own complicity in the ever-widening gap between the haves and have-nots. I believe in that complicity; what I find off-putting is a production that points its finger with a gorgeous, almost operatic complacency. … His eccentricities still gloriously intact from A History of Britain seven years ago, the puckishly opinionated historian and critic returns to public television with Simon Schama’s Power of Art (Channel 13, premieres Monday, June 18, 9 p.m.), devoting an hour each to one masterpiece per genius—Van Gogh, Picasso, Caravaggio, Bernini, Rembrandt, David, Turner, and Rothko—with location shooting, art photography, dramatic reenactments. And of course Schama the Talking Head, whom we meet straightaway in a field of French wheat, looking for Van Gogh’s crows. This is not a substitute for art history; it is instead a series of seminars with a mind equal parts cultivated, enthusiastic, and idiosyncratic: his very own Bernini fountain.


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising