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"Dancing With the Stars" Results

By admin Published: September 30, 2008

No repeat for Mark Ballas, who was paired with Kristi Yamaguchi last season, since he and Kim Kardashian have been sent home. While I won't pretend Kim was good, she was at least marginally better than some other competitors. Or one. Because making this a rawer judgment -- although Mark handled it with grace -- was that they were opposite Cloris Leachman and Mark's dad Corky as the last two couples before elimination. (That does not, the show insists, necessarily mean those were the bottom two couples.) Leachman's a tired joke, and it has to sting to see her go on when you go home.

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"HIMYM": The Underwear Radius and Other Gems

By admin Published: September 30, 2008

I caught up with "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" this morning, as I once again realized I am agonizingly behind on my viewing -- and there is more and more coming down the pike. "Dancing With the Stars" alone is killing me with those two-hour telecasts -- and the lack of a really great couple right now --just some good ones, including Lance Bass, and we know how much Len hates him.

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TCM Sets Paul Newman Tribute

By admin Published: September 30, 2008


(From People.com)

The festival is on Oct. 12-13. Some good things. Full announcement after the jump.

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Which Rating?

By admin Published: September 30, 2008

Nielsen recently sent out an explanation of different ratings (metered market, fast national, viewers, households), which you may find being used in a variety of ways by TV propagandists. The explanation is posted after the jump.

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"Swing State" on DVD

By admin Published: September 29, 2008

The documentary about the '06 Ohio governor's race, which was shown in Kent over the weekend, arrives on Nov. 4. Yes, Election Day. It will include a tribute to Stephanie Tubbs Jones. Full announcement after the jump.

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"90210" Nouveau: Better Late ...

By admin Published: September 29, 2008


Wide Awake and Dreaming, indeed ...

I wasn't in a big hurry to watch last week's episode of "90210," because I wanted to get through the second-season premiere of "Beverly Hills, 90210" (posted about below), since -- based on the promos for the new series -- they were both dealing with the question of sex for the show's leading lady. Fooled by a promo again. ....

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: Season Two: "Beach Blanket Brandon"

By admin Published: September 29, 2008

Originally aired July 11, 1991. The show gets a new look and handles an old cliffhanger. ...

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"Dark Knight" DVD Plans

By admin Published: September 29, 2008

It arrives Dec. 9. Detailed announcement after the jump.

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Son of Ernie

By admin Published: September 28, 2008

My older son, a filmmaker and film buff, pointed out to me a recent Esquire profile of Paul Thomas Anderson, the writer-director ("Boogie Nights," "Magnolia," "There Will Be Blood") of enormous skill if occasional aggravation. ...

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"SNL": Getting (A Little) Better

By admin Published: September 28, 2008


(The above is the embed of the opening sketch, from the NBC site; last week the connection was shut down, but if that happens you should be able to find it on NBC.com or Hulu.)

I wouldn't have expected a show hosted by Anna Faris to be funnier than one with James Franco, but that's how it has turned out. There was another Tina-as-Palin bit to open the show, and I could watch this stuff every week even if Katheen Parker would rather not.

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Paul Newman, R.I.P.

By admin Published: September 27, 2008

Earlier today I wrote a brief appreciation of the great actor, which you can find here. I am also now regretting that I did not get any deeper into my "Rethinking Paul Newman" posts about his movies, but time and other projects intervened. And, frankly, I was hoping that he would be around longer. Anyway, one of the posts, about "Nobody's Fool," talks about the way Newman got better as an actor as he grew older. (You can find it here.) And of the many marvels that were Newman's career, that's a big one. He never rested on his laurels or bogged down in eccentricity. If his resume includes the occasional role that appears to be for the paycheck ("The Towering Inferno" comes to mind), they were rarities in a career that included repeated searches for challenging parts. "The Color of Money" has its merits, but look closely at "Nobody's Fool" and "The Verdict" and "Road to Perdition" and other parts that showed a man racing for glory instead of just riding into the sunset.

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"Survivor" Season Premiere: Two Quick Goodbyes

By admin Published: September 25, 2008

Details, photos after the jump. ...

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"My Name Is Earl"

By admin Published: September 25, 2008

Two hours of NBC comedy tonight, with the season premieres of "The Office" (which I did not get to preview) and "My Name Is Earl" (which I did). ...

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"Grey's Anatomy": Back On, Game On

By admin Published: September 25, 2008

There are two fundamental, spoiler-free things going on in "Grey's Anatomy" tonight (as well as some nice nods to Cleveland Clinic) ...

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David Letterman With the News

By admin Published: September 25, 2008

I watched a certain amount of talking heads, spin doctors, whatever, on John McCain's latest move. And none of it was on the same level as Letterman, spurned but pointed.

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"Dancing With the Stars": Ted in the Water

By admin Published: September 24, 2008

We spent the better part of the evening at the vet's, getting cat Sabrina a check-up, so I'm a bit behind on viewing. Did catch the end of a recording of "DWTS" and saw that Ted McGinley bid farewell. Wouldn't have been my first choice to go. But at least fast-forwarding spared me any new Leachman lunacy.

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This One's For Gus

By admin Published: September 24, 2008

Comments on a previous post turned to Zillions, the Consumer Reports magazine for kids, and regular commenter Gus recalled that the Beacon Journal once wrote about his work for Zillions. Found the story he mentioned. After the jump, the text ...

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"Heroes" vs. "Knight Rider": Which Is More Stupid?

By admin Published: September 24, 2008

The answer is obvious, but complicated ...

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"Dancing With the Stars": Out of the Patch

By admin Published: September 23, 2008

Can't argue with tonight's elimination of Jeffrey Ross. He was arguably among the worst dancers on Monday night. Not that I agreed with the judges on everything. And I have to wonder if we're witnessing at least a little bit of a battle for "DWTS" soul, between the more or less classic ballroom dancing it embraces and the less traditional moves that would appeal to fans of "So You Think You Can Dance." This seems most evident in Len's hostility toward Lance Bass's routines -- since his partner comes from the "SYTYCD" school, but not just there. Something to watch for as the show goes on. That, and how long the Cloris Leachman nightmare continues.

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Tuesday Notebook

By admin Published: September 23, 2008

Tonight's DVR pileup, part interest, part obligation: "90210," "NCIS," "Dancing With the Stars," "Privileged," "Fringe" and -- oh, wait, there's a "Quantum of Solace" commercial. Bright shiny object! James Bond! Daniel Craig! Could we just see it now, please?

Back to TV. I have seen tonight's "House," and it's a bit better than the season premiere as it continues the House-Wilson conflict. I have also seen "The Mentalist," which I mentioned in a previous post, and which isn't bad even though it is cobbled together from parts of other shows.

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"That's 'cause they LIVED the Star Wars!"

By admin Published: September 22, 2008


I think Martin Mull is in this scene.

Had hoped to post a little more about the season premieres of "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" but I am going to have to find a replay of "Men" somewhere since my DVR decided to offer its impression of the show as done by Jackson Pollock. That said, ...

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"Dancing With the Stars"

By admin Published: September 22, 2008

All right, so Cloris Leachman hijacked the entirety of "Dancing With the Stars" for an extended period, but "DWTS" has a tradition of wacky contestants. I want to make note of Lacey Schwimmer, above, ...

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Sundance Channel To Air "Body of War"

By admin Published: September 22, 2008


(Photo by Ellen Spiro)

The documentary, backed and co-directed by Cleveland native Phil Donahue, recently got a showing at the Cleveland Cinematheque but not everyone could get to that presentation. So here's another chance to see it -- on Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Full announcement is after the jump. You can also learn more about the production here.

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It's On!

By admin Published: September 22, 2008

It's a two-DVR night thanks to the return of new TV in full force. Between the bride's shows and mine, we're set up for "Dancing With the Stars," "How I Met Your Mother," "Two and a Half Men," "One Tree Hill" and "Heroes." I have already seen a few minutes of CBS's new comedy "Worst Week," because after a few minutes I felt I had seen it all before and moved on. I have seen the first new hour of the two-hour "Heroes" premiere because that is all NBC sent out. It made me think I should have gone back and watched last season's finale first. The first hour was quite a little roller coaster, although that's not necessarily a good thing, but I think I'll withhold further judgment until I see the second hour tonight.

The return of shows has me pleased -- well, until I looked at everything we're recording just through Wednesday and my thoughts about time management turned into a big ole anxiety attack.

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Emmy Notes

By admin Published: September 21, 2008


Raise a glass, folks...

As I mentioned last night, I was working a metro shift Sunday night. Got out at a reasonable time, but then I had homework, so I let the Emmys wait until this morning -- and have no thoughts about the show as a show. But my reactions to the winners in some of the major categories are after the jump.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Home Again," First Season Finale

By admin Published: September 21, 2008


The end of this era

Originally aired May 9, 1991. Jim gets a promotion -- but it means moving the family back to Minnesota. ...

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Spring Dance"

By admin Published: September 21, 2008

Originally aired May 2, 1991. The next to last episode of the first season. Brenda and Dylan get a room, Brandon is luring the ladies, Steve has a meltdown.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Spring Training"

By admin Published: September 20, 2008

Originally aired April 25, 1991. Brandon tries coaching, Brenda has a dog problem. ...

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Four Die; Travis Barker, DJ AM Injured in Plane Crash

By admin Published: September 20, 2008


(Michael Loccisano/ FilmMagic)

You may know Barker from Blink-182 or from the "Meet the Barkers" TV show and his tabloid fame. DJ AM also did time in the paparazzi's lights thanks to a relationship with Nicole Richie. Details of the crash are here. According to MTV, they were also the house band for this year's VMAs. MTV's report on the crash is here.

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Saturday Morning Grin

By admin Published: September 20, 2008

First saw this linked over at Sepinwall. Very well done, since it was making me smile at 6:30 in the morning.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "April Is the Cruelest Month"

By admin Published: September 19, 2008


(From Handbag.com)

Originally aired April 11, 1991. Brandon interviews a tennis star, Donna worries that she's stupid.

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More "Flashpoint" in '09

By admin Published: September 19, 2008

CBS has ordered 13 more episodes of the Canadian series. Full announcement after the jump.

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Who's Watching Politics on TV?

By admin Published: September 19, 2008

Here are Nielsen's highlights from its analysis of convention coverage:

Nearly two thirds of all U.S. households (64.5% or 73.2 million homes) tuned into at least one of the 2008 political conventions. This is about 120.1 million people. Viewership levels for the two conventions were essentially tied, with about half of all households watching each one.

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Compare and Contrast

By admin Published: September 19, 2008

From today's Beacon Journal:

And a classic promo image:

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "It's Only a Test"

By admin Published: September 18, 2008

Originally aired March 28, 1991. Almost everyone is worried about the SATs -- until Brenda has to deal with a more harrowing test.

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Norman Whitfield, R.I.P.

By admin Published: September 17, 2008

That's "Ball of Confusion," produced and co-written by Whitfield, who has passed away. Whitfield was key to the Temptations' success, with credits on "I'm Losing You," "You're My Everything," "I Wish It Would Rain" "and Just My Imagination" as well as the cornerstones of the Tempts' social-relevance period: "Ball of Confusion," "Cloud Nine," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone." Nor should we forget the sublime "Car Wash" soundtrack. The title tune is good enough, but I prefer "I Wanna Get Next to You." Here's the movie clip:

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Wednesday Notebook

By admin Published: September 17, 2008

After the jump, "90210" (the baby daddy revealed), "Privileged," "The Closer" and "Californication, as well as some thoughts about sacks. ...

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TNT Orders More "Saving Grace," "Raising the Bar"

By admin Published: September 16, 2008

"Grace" -- currently on hiatus -- will finish its current, second season in early '09, then do a third season for later in the year. "Bar" winds up its current, first season in November, then returns in '09 for a second go-round. Both new seasons will consist of 15 episodes. Full announcement after the jump.

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Tuesday Afternoon Grin

By admin Published: September 16, 2008

I know this is a little old, but just thinking about it makes me laugh ...

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"Little People, Big World" Coming Back

By admin Published: September 16, 2008

The fourth season begins Oct. 13 with a trip to Iraq. Announcement after the jump.

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"House" Returns

By admin Published: September 16, 2008

After the jump is the column I wrote for the Beacon Journal's Channels supplement, which does not appear to have made it to Ohio.com. (Since this often happens, I am probably neglecting some coding thing.) I can't say I am enthusiastic about the way the show is in its first two episodes, which are often downbeat. But neither am I pessimistic. At the end of the column, I called the start "fairly promising." I might also have admitted to "wary optimism." Anyway, the text is after the jump, and spoiler-free.

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"The Ex List": Never Mind

By admin Published: September 15, 2008


Elizabeth Reaser in "The Ex List"

A bummer behind the scenes.

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The Mailbag Abides

By admin Published: September 15, 2008

Since the revamp of the Beacon Journal last week, I have been hearing occasionally from readers who think my weekly mailbag column has ended. Not the case. The daily Pop Quiz question and answer is no more, but the mailbag is still part of Thursday's Beacon Journal. It has simply moved within the paper, so it is now in the Enjoy section. If you missed last week's column, you can find it here. Questions can still be sent to rheldenfels@thebeaconjournal.com or the Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, OH 44309.

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Monday Morning Notebook: Ugly Nights

By admin Published: September 15, 2008

Watched great quantities of two football games this weekend: OSU-USC and Browns-Steelers. Each was, in its own special way, ugly ball. The college game was a blowout, the pro one a mishmash of poor play by both sides -- although the Browns ended up on the short end of the score and management skills, with Al Michaels offering an increasing amount of astonishment and indignation over the Browns' decision-making as the game slipped away from them. And, in both cases, a lot of TV hours that now feel as if they were poorly spent.

Another kind of ugly over at "Mad Men" on Sunday, as you can see in this clip:

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Weekend Box Office

By admin Published: September 14, 2008

"Burn After Reading" was tops, according to Media By Numbers, with "The Family That Preys" second. But "Family" had a better per-theater average and Nikki Finke argues that the competition between the two films was pretty even.

I haven't seen "Burn," although I want to. I did see "Family" and did not care for it. While it had good things, including great scenes between Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard, and I admire Tyler Perry's tenacity and his business success, overall it disappointed me.

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Welcome Back, Tina!

By admin Published: September 14, 2008

Michael Phelps was pretty well doomed as host of the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live because he had to follow the opening, with Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton and the much-hoped-for appearance by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin. Good, good bit. Educational, too; who knew there was such a word as "flurge"? Even if Phelps had been as good a host as Peyton Manning, which he wasn't, he would have had a hard time measuring up to the opener. And even if you discount Phelps, the show wasn't that great.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Stand (Up) and Deliver"

By admin Published: September 13, 2008


Carrie Hamilton, R.I.P.

Originally aired March 7, 1991. Brandon gets into politics, Brenda tries adulthood. ...

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Saturday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: September 13, 2008


"The Heiress," based on the novel "Washington Square"

I kept meaning to do something here on Friday -- in fact, the last thing I did before bed was start another episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210." But by then I was a little beat, in part from preparing for a class (many notes about Henry James's "Washington Square") and from a somewhat hectic time at work. So the newest "90210" post will have to wait a bit.
The work, though, included a chat with the legendary Phil Donahue, who is as outspoken as ever. You can find the story I wrote for the Beacon Journal about him here.
And I have begun working through some new network series; last night, I watched "The Mentalist," which stars Simon Baker as a very observant guy who helps solve crimes. It was not bad. I'm not a big fan of Baker, since he always seems somewhat unlikable to me, but for this character -- a smart, abrasive cynic with more than a passing connection to Gregory House -- he is well cast. More about that when it gets closer to premiere time.
And now it's off to class.

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The Following Item Is Brought To You By the Letter "S" ...

By admin Published: September 11, 2008

... as in sexism. That's a word that has been used, wisely and unwisely, in recent months thanks to the political candidacies of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I don't propose to argue the merits of either here. But if you wonder if sexism is alive and well these days, I offer this note to me from a reader in Detroit:

Why oh why are there so many female newscasters? They are unnecessarily theatrical, have high pitched voices, speak too rapidly and thus are harder to hear than male speakers.
This is wrong.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Fame Is Where You Find It"

By admin Published: September 11, 2008

Originally aired Feb. 28, 1991. Brandon learns about show business, Brenda finds an alter ego.

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Thursday Morning Notebook: "90210" Nouveau, Coldplay, Tyler Perry

By admin Published: September 11, 2008

Sundry notes after the jump...

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "A Fling in Palm Springs"/"Palm Springs Weekend

By admin Published: September 10, 2008


Henry Silver, king of charades, deliverer of wisdom

Known by two different titles, this episode first aired on Feb. 21, 1991. Brandon makes a new friend, David has a family epiphany, Dylan and Brenda have communication problems.

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"Darius Goes West" Screening in Akron

By admin Published: September 10, 2008

Some of you may have taken note of this movie when it was shown at the Cleveland International Film Festival. Here's another chance at it:

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The New Adventures of Eric Carmen

By admin Published: September 10, 2008

(from TMZ.com)

Cleveland's own Eric Carmen (of Raspberries and "Hungry Eyes" fame) gave the folks at TMZ something to talk about -- and video and mug shots to post -- after a DUI bust.

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More "Big Lebowski"

By admin Published: September 10, 2008

The real-life Dude checks in! See after the jump. And I know, you guys are thinking, hey, this movie has been around for 10 years, and I saw it a week ago and can't shut up about it. I plead guilty with an explanation. And, in my defense, even though the reference to the Port Huron Statement in last Sunday's "Mad Men" made me laugh, I didn't draw the parallel to "Lebowski" -- even if one of my buddies did.

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"Christmas Toy" on DVD

By admin Published: September 10, 2008

Even if it's early to be talking holiday fare, I have gotten questions over the years about this '80s Jim Henson production coming to DVD. And now it will. The release date is Nov. 4, the retail price is $14.98. The announcement follows the jump.

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TV Watch: "Privileged"

By admin Published: September 9, 2008


Premieres tonight on The CW.

Let's say that I became addicted to the new "90210" (unlikely, based on the second hour of last week's two-hour premiere, but I am giving it another chance tonight). And let's further say ...

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When Sarah Meets Charlie

By admin Published: September 9, 2008

As you probably know, ABC's Charlie Gibson has scored the first big interview with vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Here's the announcement from ABC:

In her first interview since being tapped as John McCain’s running mate, Governor Sarah Palin will sit down with ABC News’ Charles Gibson on Thursday, September 11 and Friday, September 12. Gibson’s exclusive interviews with the Republican Vice Presidential candidate will take place in Fairbanks and Wasilla, Alaska.

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TV Watch: "Fringe"

By admin Published: September 8, 2008

Premieres on Fox on Tuesday

You know, I think this would make a lot more sense to me if I had seen '"Altered States"

In most literature, but fantasy literature in particular, there's a line between storytelling that is absurd but somehow acceptable, and storytelling that is simply absurd. "Fringe," the new thriller from J.J. Abrams, tries to stay on the acceptable side of the line. But it tumbles to the other side. ...

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"Mad Men": "The Gold Violin"

By admin Published: September 8, 2008

Watching "Mad Men" this morning, I kept thinking of an Archibald MacLeish poem, "Ars Poetica," which I read in high school:

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It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like ... Well, No, It Isn't

By admin Published: September 8, 2008

It's one thing to walk into a store in early September and see the Halloween candy for sale. It's another to open the office mail in early September and find Christmas DVDs, and then to get an NBC holiday-specials release in the e-mail. (For those of you who want that early news, I'm posting it after the jump.) Yesterday, I was out in the sun. Today, I was in shirtsleeves and saw the thermometer get near 80. And THE CALENDAR SAYS IT'S SEPTEMBER. Oh, well. Marketing is a year-round thing.

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The Sporting Life

By admin Published: September 7, 2008

Besides catching a lot of pieces of "Brothers & Sisters" while the bride plowed through the second-season DVD set (and let me see that the show improved a great deal after an unpromising start), this has been a weekend for watching sports.

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Report: New "Project Runway" Delayed

By admin Published: September 5, 2008

From Entertainment Weekly online:

In a surprise development, Lifetime has announced that it won't debut the sixth season of Project Runway until January so it has more time to promote the show that it swiped from Bravo last spring. "With this move, the series will resume its traditional cycle of two seasons per year," according to a Lifetime spokeperson. "We look forward to ringing in the New Year by giving Project Runway loyal fans a superlative season six with Heidi, Tim, Nina, and Michael. The new date and time will be announced soon.”
The news comes as a lawsuit over the rights to Project Runway continues to wind its way through the New York courts. Bravo's parent company, NBC/Universal, is alleging that the Weinstein Co. shopped Runway to Lifetime before giving its home network first refusal. NBC/Universal also is attempting to block Lifetime from marketing and promoting future cycles of the show.

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The Dude Abides (Updated)

By admin Published: September 5, 2008


Dude, even I wouldn't take 10 years to see this movie. ...

Update: You can read more of my musings about "Lebowski," and about the new DVD set, in my Sunday DVD column.

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"True Blood"

By admin Published: September 5, 2008


Premieres Sunday on HBO

I have been trying to come up with something detailed and articulate to say about "True Blood," the vampire saga from "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball. And the best I can come up with is a shrug.

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''ER" Resurrects Mark Greene, Sort Of

By admin Published: September 4, 2008

From NBC today:
NBC announced that Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee Anthony Edwards will reprise his role as Dr. Mark Greene for one episode of NBC's long running show "ER" (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m. ET/PT). Edwards will return in the episode entitled "Heal Thyself," which was written and directed by executive producer David Zabel, and will air on November 13, 2008.

The installment will feature Dr. Greene in a series of newly shot scenes that will feature other characters from the show's past while also giving insight into Dr. Banfield's (Angela Bassett) past and her experiences within the walls of County General.

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "East Side Story"

By admin Published: September 4, 2008


(from the official Jason Priestley site)

First aired on Feb. 14, 1991. Brandon learns about love (again) and stereotyping.

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Thursday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: September 4, 2008

Will have a classic "90210" flashback a little later today.

Song stuck in my head this morning:

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"Sons of Anarchy" (Updated)

By admin Published: September 3, 2008

Short take: It has some "Hamlet." It has some "Macbeth." It has motorcycles and guns and tattoos, and a more than decent cast. But there's something missing in tonight's premiere on FX. Much the way Charlie Hunnam, above, bears a strong resemblance to Heath Ledger, but lacks the solemn weight Ledger was bringing to the roles leading up to his death (and I'm not even thinking about "The Dark Knight") -- so "Sons of Anarchy" doesn't dazzle the way, say, "The Shield" or "Rescue Me" did out of the gate. I can see why FX thought it would be a good fit for the network. But it's second-tier.

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Wednesday Afternoon Notebook

By admin Published: September 3, 2008


Alec Baldwin, from The New Yorker

Am a little behind on things today. (Hey, I had a class. And a meeting. And I had to track down a semi-obscure Ingmar Bergman movie that a reader was asking about. And I had homework last night. Yes, homework. For the love of God, what have I done? Not even Pomegranate Cleanse can save me now.)

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The New "90210" (Updated)

By admin Published: September 3, 2008

When I got through the first hour of the two-hour premiere, and I am amazed how much it did NOT stink. Actually enjoyed a lot of it. The second hour did not stink, either. But ...

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"Beverly Hills, 90210" Flashback: "Slumber Party"

By admin Published: September 2, 2008


Guess who was driving stick.

The new "90210" starts tonight but has not been made available for preview. I will be recording it tonight for future discussion. And we can still look back at the old "90210."

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The Big 2-0: A Few Hours With History

By admin Published: September 1, 2008

The bride and I capped Labor Day weekend with a trip to the ballpark to see the Indians and the White Sox. That trip just happened to have Cliff Lee winning his 20th game, the first Indians pitcher to rack up 20 since Gaylord Perry in 1974. (Even better, Lee has only two losses with those 20 wins.)

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