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Monday, August 1, 2011


MTV is resurrecting 120 Minutes from the 90s grave.

The series that schooled us on Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and Pearl Jam to name a few.

120 Minutes,” cumbersomely rebranded “MTV2’s 120 Minutes With Matt Pinfield,” returns in the small hours of Sunday morning, following an eight-year hiatus, and it’s surprising how familiar it feels, given that it’s fundamentally unlike almost anything else on the channel. Though it’s now running monthly, little else has been changed since the show’s first run. Sometimes, at least in the premiere, it’s just Mr. Pinfield, the host from 1995 to 1999, interviewing an artist who was popular in that time, as if you were watching a rerun of an original episode.

Mr. Pinfield still has his vintage charm: bald pate, choked voice, short-sleeved work shirt over black T-shirt, a fresh-from-the-gas-station look. Plus, he shows his intimacy with the artists he covers, introducing one interview subject as “my friend Dave Grohl,” or getting a birthday cake from Kings of Leon. Mr. Pinfield loves music — perhaps he is the only current MTV personality you can say that about definitively — and musicians appear genuinely happy to talk to him.

For the polyglot [2010's], “120 Minutes” promotes strenuously cross-cultural taste. Theophilus London likes Morrissey! Mr. Followill used to like Boyz II Men! And there are videos, too — old ones from Pearl Jam and Radiohead, and new clips from rising bands like Cults, Givers and the Joy Formidable.

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