Joshua Alston

Stories by Joshua Alston

  • Craig Ferguson: Late Bloomer

    Craig Ferguson can't beat Dave's or Jay's ratings, but he's got something bigger: a date with the president.
  • Post-MLK: Barack, Jesse & Al

    Barack Obama is asking us to talk through our racial problems. But what if that actually works?
  • Still Remembering Selena

    Selena was only 23 when she was murdered. But 13 years after her death, the Tejano star is being mourned now more than ever.
  • TV: 'The Tudors' Returns

    If you like family dramas, 'The Tudors' is the best-dressed--and undressed--place on television.
  • Is Blackface Ever OK?

    Minstrelsy may be dead, but white actors playing people of color is still a thorny issue.
  • 'The Wire' finale

    It wasn't the most satisfying finale ever, but even a mediocre night in TV's Charm City beats everything else on the dial.
  • Diversity Training

    Clinton and Obama may be breaking new presidential ground, but Hollywood beat them to the top decades ago.
  • FAQ: Returning to 'Lost'

    TV's most ambitious, and frustrating, show is back. Fans ask: should I stay or should I go? We give you some clues.
  • Finally, Spike’s First Joint

    Filmmaker Tyler Perry has built a mini-empire in Hollywood by portraying a certain type of African-American character: articulate, urbane and upwardly mobile. But Perry ("Why Did I Get Married?") hasn't broken any creative ground. In 1986, a scrappy NYU film graduate named Spike Lee laid the foundation for Perry's empire, introducing like-minded characters in his debut feature, "She's Gotta Have It"—and when Lee did it, Perry would've been barely old enough to see the salacious dramedy without his parents. This week, more than two decades later, Spike's first joint is being released on DVD.I saw the film when I was 13, a case of my parents' being absent-minded or progressive, but either way, a fluke. I had never seen a character break through the fourth wall, so it felt as if I were hallucinating when the movie opened with Nola Darling (Tracy Camilla Johns) wriggling out of a neatly made bed and talking straight to the camera. "I want you to know," she says, "the only reason I'm...
  • Bryan Cranston and Jon Hamm: Get ‘Bad,’ Get ‘Mad,’ And You’ll Get Glad

    Unless you're reading this to kill time until Senior Swim at the Y, you're probably not used to tuning into AMC (formerly American Movie Classics). So if you flip past and see a man wearing just white briefs and a gas mask barreling through the desert in a Winnebago, no, your eyes aren't deceiving you, and no, that's not a deleted scene from "The Graduate."It's "Breaking Bad," AMC's new original series premiering in January. If the show's premise— a high-school chemistry teacher starts dealing crystal meth—sounds odd for the channel that once specialized in Cary Grant retrospectives, well, that's the whole point.AMC has reinvented itself as the next powerhouse for cutting-edge programming, and it's had quite a run of beginner's luck. Its first series, "Mad Men," premiered in the summer to justifiably rapturous praise, and earned two Golden Globe nominations (including one for its leading man, Jon Hamm). The network owes its success to what could be called the HBO formula: attracting...
  • He’s Still A Bit Crushed

    Everyone knows the most memorable scene in the June finale of "The Sopranos." But a close second had to be the outrageous death of Tony Soprano's nemesis Phil Leotardo (Frank Vincent), who was shot twice, then got his head smushed by an SUV. Vincent spoke with NEWSWEEK's Joshua Alston. ...
  • The Best TV of 2007

    Our critic catalogs his favorite episodes from his favorite shows of the year.
  • The Real McCoy

    This season on 'Law & Order,' Sam Waterston gets a big promotion. We don't think it's big enough.
  • MJ: 'Thriller's 25th Anniversary

    Michael Jackson is handsome and charming. He's flirtatious. He's mostly guileless, sometimes a little confrontational. He's magnetic.I don't mean now. Now Jackson is a creepy symbol of the afflictive nature of fame. But when I listen to "Thriller," his 1982 commercial blockbuster and critical masterpiece, he's still the man with the glitter-gloved Midas touch. This week marks the 25th anniversary of the release of "Thriller," and the milestone is sure to be obscured by his recent lunacy. But I'm using it as an excuse to revisit one of pop music's golden moments.In April, a video appeared on YouTube showing a group of Filipino prison inmates re-creating the stunning choreography from Jackson's "Thriller" video. The clip is closing in on 9 million views, and it's not because people are interested in the Philippine penal system. It's popular because it takes Jackson's dynamic performance and puts it in a context that, mercifully, doesn't involve him. It separates the art, which we love...
  • The Latest N-Word Fracas

    Apologies from D-list celebs (Dog the Bounty Hunter? Who he?) make you wonder: have they become just another career move?
  • TV Strike: Advice for Viewers

    Before you do something drastic during the Hollywood writers' strike—like —we offer some suggestions on staying tethered to your TV.
  • Fast Chat: Immigrant Injustice?

    Documentarian Peter Miller illuminates history's lost stories. In his latest film, "Sacco and Vanzetti," he revisits the tragic fate of two Italian immigrants executed in 1927 for a murder they probably didn't commit. He spoke with Joshua Alston.I was drawn to their ideology. They were hardworking and believed in opportunity and idealism, things we regard as traditional American values. I read the amazing letters they wrote to their children from prison, and I thought theirs was a story that everyone should know.Unfortunately, not very much. Now that Italians are a successfully assimilated group, it's easy to forget that there was a tremendous amount of hostility aimed against them when they arrived, and with new immigrant groups, the pattern of our nation not being welcoming continues to recur.We are at a time when people have been willing to sacrifice civil liberties to preserve national security, and people have been increasingly anxious about the presence of immigrants in our...
  • Snide and Prejudice

    Two new sitcoms use such a tired comedic device they're positively prehistoric—and offensive.
  • The Rich Get Richer

    Money never goes out of style, but after a long hiatus, the wealthy-family drama is starting a new dynasty.