For me, “must see TV” consists of only three shows.
While many are out whooping it up on a Friday night, I, as schedule permits, do my best to keep an 8 p.m. appointment with “Fringe.” Dismissed by naysayers as an “X-Files on steroids,” “Fringe,” which sadly concludes its run in January, features John Noble in one of the most overlooked characters on scripted TV in years as the acid-fried Dr. Walter Bishop.
Come Sunday, there’s the one-two punch of “The Walking Dead” and “Homeland.” The former may be one of the most amazing reincarnations of a tried-and-true premise; zombies have taken over the globe, and a band of survivors do their best to stay alive, while the latter spins a web of terrorism and espionage, family chaos and mental illness into what may arguably be the best fictional show currently airing today.
Claire Danes and Damian Lewis both took home Emmys for their roles as the troubled FBI agent and the turned war-hero in “Homeland,” respectively, and the show also took home an Emmy for Best Drama. But the anchor and moral compass of the show is Mandy Patinkin as senior CIA Middle East Chief Saul Berenson.
When “Homeland” first made its debut on Showtime last year, it had “hit” all over it on this side of the tube when I saw Patikin’s name attached to the show. On big screen (most notably “The Princess Bride” to many) and small screen (along with “Homeland,” “Chicago Hope” is a favorite to many, while “Criminal Minds” is not a personal best to him), you’re pretty much guaranteed a stellar viewing if Patinkin’s involved in the show.
For those whose attentions lean more towards the stage than the big and small screen, Patinkin is held in equally high regard.
A Broadway and off-Broadway favorite for more than three decade with a Tony Award to his credit, the Chicago-bred Patinkin has also released more than a half-dozen albums over the years, with the most recent, the acclaimed “Mandy Patinkin Sings Sondheim,” released to great acclaim in 2002.
Proceeds from Patinkin’s Saturday performance at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University, which finds the actor/singer joined by revered South Bend-reared baritone Nathan Gunn, will go to the Over the Rainbow Association, which provides services to adults with disabilities.
Mandy Patinkin, Nathan Gunn, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Northwestern University, 50 Arts Circle Dr., Evanston. $75-$250. FYI: (847) 491-5441, PICKSTAIGER.ORG.
ON SALE NOW
For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Bobby Bare Jr., Jan. 13, City Winery (21 and older, CITYWINERY.COM/CHICAGO)
Mondo Generator, Jan. 6, Reggie’s Rock Club (17 and older, REGGIESLIVE.COM)
Luciero, Jan. 19, Metro (METROCHICAGO.COM)
Silverstein, Jan. 26, Bottom Lounge (BOTTOMLOUNGE.COM)
Freedy Johnston, Jan. 12, Schubas (21 and older, SCHUBAS.COM)
The opinions expressed solely are those of the writer. Tim Shellberg can be reached at T.firstname.lastname@example.org.