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The Looming Tower

Hulu

If you’re looking for a mindless binge watch, this isn’t it. Though officially billed as a fictionalized drama based on real events, you’ll most likely be lost if you can’t keep up with the bouncing timeline and locations. Likewise, if you’re completely unaware of the events leading up to September 11, 2001, you may get lost in the storyline. That said, Hulu’s newest (and much-promoted) miniseries is a quality production filled with realistic and sometimes gripping scenes. The show’s talented actors, led by Jeff Daniels, do a good job of weaving the many intricate details of 9/11 into a highly watchable show that combines factual events with the notion they may have been prevented.

– Joni Williams

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman

Netflix

Two months into his new monthly show, Letterman has hosted President Obama and George Clooney. But unlike his former shows, each guest gets the entire episode to carry on an informal yet revealing conversation. Clooney discusses a medical condition he once had that greatly affected his appearance. And the former president shares a glimpse into his role as a presidential parent as well as a look back to growing up as the son of a single mother and distant father. While these fast moving chats are filled with plenty of Letterman’s recognizable snark and snappy comebacks, he’s undeniably become a much more thoughtful and respectful interviewer.

 

Alas, there are no stupid pet tricks or tossing of watermelons from the roof. Also gone is longtime sidekick, straight man and human laugh track Paul Shaffer, along with the rest of the band. In their place is Letterman’s newly sprouted Santa Claus beard—definitely eye-catching, though maybe not in a good way. Still, Letterman manages to show us a very real and human side of his guests in a way that’s sometimes thoughtful, often funny, and always entertaining.

– Joni Williams

 

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