David Wiegand, SF Chronicle

David Wiegand

SF Chronicle

San Francisco, CA, United States

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Past articles by David:

RFK doc misses the bigger picture for Baby Boomers coming of age

If you say the year "1968" to anyone who lived through it, it will automatically prompt a sequence of memory flashes: Martin Luther King, protests, riots, the Chicago Democratic National Convention, the election of Richard M. Nixon, and of course, the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy after he won the California Democratic primary and seemed all but anointed as the next president of the… → Read More

In search of lost time and children on PBS

How would you react if your child disappeared? No one can truly know unless it happens to them, but we think we know by the way actors react in hundreds of TV shows and films about missing children. A missing child is one of the most effective plot devices in literature, because even the most ham-fisted novel or TV show can get us to identify with the parent of a lost child. "The Child in Time,"… → Read More

Maye high-kicks her way to standing O at Feinstein’s

It's always wonderful to see and hear a veteran singer. We sit and listen for traces of what we remember from their glory days and delight in how they still seem to enjoy delivering a song. We never mind putting our thumbs on the scale listening to older singers, but the audience members at Feinstein's at the Nikko were able to put their thumbs away Friday night, March 23: Opening the first of… → Read More

‘Roseanne’ makes a welcome return to our lives and to the 21st century

With the continuing parade of shows revived from an earlier golden age of television, we are getting used to first episodes that bend over backward trying to convince us that it's 2018 in sitcom-land just as it is in the real world. "Will & Grace" did it when it got resurrected by NBC: an overabundance of topical jokes from the current century. Well, it must have worked, because the network just… → Read More

Cumming adds needed charm to basic ‘Instinct’

There are gritty police procedurals, and there are the "pretty" variety, for lack of a better word that doesn't conveniently rhyme. "The Wire" was gritty. "Murder, She Wrote" was pretty. So is "Instinct," a procedural premiering on CBS on Sunday, March 18, starring Alan Cumming as a former CIA operative lured back to law enforcement by the New York Police Department. Cumming plays Dr. Dylan… → Read More

Hocus-pocus, ‘Deception’ lacks magic

Sometimes ABC looks at series creation as if it's assembling Mr. Potato Head, especially when whipping up one of its dramatic potboilers like "Revenge," "Conviction" and the latest, "Deception," premiering Sunday, March 11. These shows may vary in quality - "Revenge" was sweet until it got tiresome - but they are assembled from the same box of time-tested pieces. And "Deception" feels not only… → Read More

Kaling and kid actor make NBC’s ‘Champions’ a comedy winner

Mindy Kaling has not left the building. In fact, she's barely had time for a short walk in the fresh air between the end of "The Mindy Project" and the launch of "Champions," a pretty irresistible comedy she created with Charlie Grandy, premiering on NBC on Thursday, March 8. Kaling isn't the central character in the show, but plays a pivotal role as Priya Patel, a former girlfriend of Vince… → Read More

Hulu’s ‘Tower’ probes walk-up to 9/11

The drumbeat leading up to 9/11 is the subject of the crisply engaging Hulu thriller, "The Looming Tower," premiering on Wednesday, Feb. 28. What makes it engaging isn't the turgid bureaucratic infighting between the CIA and the FBI in the days before and after the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in East Africa, but, rather, our knowledge of what will happen in New York, Pennsylvania and Arlington,… → Read More

‘Unsolved’ launches with gripping probe of Tupac, Biggie killings

USA only slightly exaggerates when it calls the killings of Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. "the two most famous unsolved cases of all time." But hype aside, no one can dispute the questions that remain unanswered about the 1996 drive-by shooting of Pac and the slaying of Biggie Smalls six months later. The killings are the subject of "Unsolved," a new cold case, true-crime series… → Read More

Excess and preachiness make ‘Seven Seconds’ drag

Television's continuing fascination with analyzing a crime from several sides has produced great series that remind us that there are degrees of morality beyond absolute guilt or innocence in any human story. The genre isn't new, but shows like "American Crime Story" and "Law & Order: True Crime" have come a long way from the cops-and-lawyers setup of the original "Law & Order" series. ABC's… → Read More

‘Mozart’ gets personal in masterful new season

I have to admit, if anyone had told me I'd be reviewing the fourth season of "Mozart in the Jungle," I would have suggested psychotherapy. The comedy-drama is set in the world of classical music; the main characters are a young Mexican conductor and members of the fictional New York Symphony, including a young oboe player; and the show features guest stars like Caroline Shaw, John Cameron… → Read More

Have you heard? ‘This Close’ is a charmer

"This Close" is a groundbreaking series, but that's not why you should watch it. The six-episode first season, premiering Wednesday, Feb. 14, on Sundance Now, the AMC premium content service, is about a straight woman and a gay man, who are best friends. They are also deaf, and are played by Shoshannah Stern as Kate, and Josh Feldman as Michael. They created the show and are also deaf. So that's… → Read More

‘Dolly,’ ‘Falsettos’ and ‘Come From Away’ on SHN bill

If you've been wishing you were in New York to catch recent hit revivals of "Hello, Dolly!" and "Falsettos," those shows, other revivals and national tours of Broadway hits are on the horizon as part of the SHN 2018 season, announced Tuesday, Feb. 6. The new season reflects Broadway's love of revivals, with national tours of "Falsettos," "Hello Dolly!" and "Miss Saigon," as well as "Come From… → Read More

Justin Timberlake plays it bland at halftime

Justin Timberlake was upstaged by an artfully arranged lighting effect and a video of a revered musician as he performed at the Super Bowl LII halftime show Sunday in Minneapolis. Dressed in a mottled three-piece suit with an orange bandana around his neck, the pop rocker and his populous band-slash-fan club, the Tennessee Kids, ran through a medley of greatest hits. JT danced and sang… → Read More

‘Evan Hansen,’ Taylor Mac and Go-Go’s musical on tap at the Curran

Tony Award winner "Dear Evan Hansen," a Broadway tryout of a musical using music by the Go-Go's and a new musical comedy from David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori are on the bill for what Carole Shorenstein Hays is calling the inaugural season of the renovated and "reconceived" Curran Theatre. Shorenstein Hays announced the theater's first full season at a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 17, at… → Read More

You’re seeing double in Starz sci-fi thriller ‘Counterpart’

It's said that somewhere in the world, everyone has a double. If that's true, what would happen if we ever met our double? That's the premise of Starz's dystopian drama "Counterpart," premiering Sunday, Jan. 21, created by Justin Marks ("The Jungle Book") and guaranteed to make your head hurt - in a very good way. Howard Silk (J.K. Simmons) is a rather dull creature of habit. He goes to work… → Read More

KGO ends ‘Ronn Owens Show’ after 42 years, but host has new gig

Ronn Owens has had three presidents and local, national and international celebrities sitting across the desk from him, and taken listeners' calls for 42 years as the top talk show host on KGO-AM radio. As of Monday, "The Ronn Owens Show" has ended, making way for the debut of "The Ronn Owens Report" the next day. Owens delivered the news himself Friday at the end of his last show, prompting a… → Read More

Obama targets divisiveness on Letterman’s new show

The interviewer and his guest haven't been seen around these parts in recent times, but, still, they need no introduction. In fact, just minutes into the new Netflix series "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman," it will feel like old - and arguably better - times. The audience members in the Alabama theater where the interview was taped don't know who Letterman's guest is.… → Read More

‘Versace’ had something Cunanan would kill for: Fame

The bar was already set especially high for the second installment of "American Crime Story" by the critical and popular success of last year's "The People v. O. J. Simpson." From the long white Bronco chase along the Los Angeles freeways to the gavel-to-gavel coverage of Simpson's trial, much of the nation had followed the case from beginning to end, all but guaranteeing a sizable audience for… → Read More

Witty misfits charm in Freeform ‘Alone’

Television comedy comes in many packages, of course, but among the most popular on some outlets such as FX and Hulu is what I like to call Comedy of the Annoying - sitcoms about people you probably wouldn't want to spend a lot of time with in person, but who can be hilarious in 30-minute bites. Think "Difficult People," "You're the Worst" and, on broadcast, "2 Broke Girls" and "Mom." There is a… → Read More