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Summer TV Podcast

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 31, 2006

Amy Carlson Gustafson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and I talked today about our likes and dislikes when it comes to TV this summer. Here are the pertinent links:

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''Studio 60'': Do Not Adjust Your Set

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 30, 2006

Among the recurring complaints I get about television, one is that some TV shows just look too dark -- that it's difficult to figure out who's there and what's going on because the artists making TV shows love shadow and muted light far more than viewers do. They're making shows for people who watch TV theater-fashion, while many viewers still prefer to have a light on.

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A Long Weekend, Fall Pilots, Desmond Dekker

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 30, 2006

It's Tuesday morning and I am sitting here laughing -- yes, laughing -- at ''30 Rock,'' the Tina Fey sitcom premiering this fall on NBC.

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''Supernatural,'' ''Veronica'' on DVD

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 26, 2006

Notes of interest to fans of the WB, er, UPN, oh, right, CW shows, from today's e-mail:

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''Lost'': Huh?

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 26, 2006

The cone of silence has been lifted on ''Lost,'' since the bride and I watched it Thursday night. (Wonderful to have a night when the viewing demands were so minimal that we could spend a couple of hours catching up.) I was sure of some things as it went along, then -- within a half-hour of its end -- convinced that everything I had settled on was probably wrong.

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Blink!

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 25, 2006

Facing the buzzsaws of ''CSI'' and ''Grey's Anatomy,'' NBC has moved new drama ''Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip'' from its planned Thursday time slot to Mondays at 10 p.m.

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Onward

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 25, 2006

Given the late hour when I was done with ''American Idol,'' I am still in the cone of silence about last night's ''Lost,'' and expect to remain there until sometime tonight. But I haven't stopped watching TV, and later today may post something about what a freakin' dazzler writer-director Stephen Poliakoff is. (A couple of his TV productions, ''Friends and Crocodiles'' and ''Gideon's Daughter,'' are coming out on DVD next week, hence my renewed admiration.) Until then, there's this little item from the morning e-mail:

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''Idol'' Finale (With Winner, Podcast)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 24, 2006

Here's the link to tonight's podcast, an especially giddy one, perhaps because we knew that ''Idol'' was done:

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Taylor's ''Idol'' Bandwagon Gains Speed...

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 24, 2006

In my previous post I noted that www.dialidol.com has Taylor easily beating Katharine in the viewer vote. Here's another indication of where sentiment is, from today's e-mail, from the PinnacleSports betting folks:

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My Last ''Idol'' Report Card of 2006 (With Podcast Info)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 23, 2006

Here's tonight's podcast link:

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''24'' (Don't Read If You Haven't Watched)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 23, 2006

I don't as a rule watch ''24'' every week because the ridiculousness of it eventually overwhelms my mild enjoyment of the action when I have to wait seven days between episodes. DVD boxes, gobbled as quickly as a box of Sugar Babies, are a much better way to go.

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Charles Gibson Ascends

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 23, 2006

With the injury to Bob Woodruff and the pregnancy of Elizabeth Vargas -- not to mention a recent slump in the ratings -- ''World News Tonight'' has changed direction again. Here's the announcement from ABC News:

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''Alias'' Farewell, ''Sopranos'' on the Brink

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 22, 2006

I expected to get more TV watched today but ended spending more time than I expected on a column for tomorrow about ''American Idol'' and on items for my TV mailbag. So it was ''Sopranos'' this morning and ''Alias'' tonight.

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Road Trip

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 21, 2006

We're just back from a visit to family yesterday and today. It was not free of television, especially since we were among sports fans and in the Pittsburgh area, so some time was devoted to the Indians-Pirates game yesterday and today. But Saturday's outcome was not great, and today we hit the road just as the Indians tied Sunday's game, after watching some of their frustrating defensive butchery.

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Backlogged

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 19, 2006

I've been spending a fair amount of time on the new-season announcements, ''American Idol'' and some family business, so I haven't been blogging as much about shows as I would like. Here's some catching up.

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And The CW...

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 18, 2006

Goodbye, ''Everwood.'' Can't stop ''7th Heaven.'' Here's the CW's lineup for the fall:

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Fox schedule

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 18, 2006

Here's what Fox has in mind for the coming season, pasted from the announcement. It's in two pieces, fall and January, since Fox prepares formal plans for January based on the return of ''American Idol.'' New shows are in bold type.

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Picking and Choosing (With Results From ''Idol,'' ''Race''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 17, 2006

Here's tonight's ''Idol'' podcast with Amy Gustafson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

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CBS schedule

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 17, 2006

And another network checks in... (N) refers to new shows. (NT) means a new time period.

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''Idol'' Tuesday

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 16, 2006

Here's tonight's podcast:

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ABC schedule

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 16, 2006

ABC announced its new lineup today. If you care about returning shows, for fall or mid-season the network has renewed ''Grey's Anatomy'' (which is moving to Thursday nights), ''Lost,'' ''Desperate Housewives,'' ''Boston Legal,'' ''Dancing With the Stars,'' ''Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,'' ''George Lopez,'' ''Supernanny,'' ''What About Brian,'' ''According to Jim,'' ''America's Funniest Home Videos,'' ''American Inventor,'' ''The Bachelor'' and ''Wife Swap.''

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''Grey's Anatomy,'' ''How I Met Your Mother'' (From Tonight's Shows)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 15, 2006

When the makers of television are looking at the arc of a season, I think they should come up with the biggest, wildest idea they can for a season finale -- then do it in the middle of the season. That way, if the idea is bad, we'll have a bunch of new episodes after it to remind us why we like the show -- and we'll end the season on a steady note that will carry us into the next.

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May, With Cones Everywhere, and a Question

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 15, 2006

No, not the orange cones on the highway, although those are sprouting, too. We're talking once again about the cone of silence, custom-designed for individual viewing needs.

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NBC Fall Schedule

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 15, 2006

NBC has announced its new lineup. Here's the list.

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''Survivor'' Surpriser

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 14, 2006

Odd to watch the final two on ''Survivor'' tonight and not see Terry there. Or, for that matter, Cirie, who proved a really good tactician in the later stages of the game. But Cirie could not get past that fire-making tie-breaker with Danielle. Then Danielle won immunity -- after outbalancing Terry and giving Aras an ambiguous nod that he interpreted as a pact and so threw the immunity challenge , and then breaking her old pact with Terry to take Aras to the final two. Where she lost the jury vote to Aras.

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This and That Friday

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 12, 2006

I should be watching "10.5: Apocalypse,'' since I have to write a brief column for the cover of Channels about it, but the TV sirens keep calling. I've got review copies of the season premieres of ''Rescue Me'' and ''The Closer,'' for starters, and I really, really want to see them. I've been trying to sample outside my usual viewing, mainly with potential guilty pleasures like ''My Super Sweet 16,'' ''Next'' and ''Date My Mom.'' I'm going to see more of ''Sweet 16'' but ''Next'' and ''Date My Mom'' are interesting only as part of the dating-show genre, which to me probably peaked with ''Love Connection.'' OK, and ''Blind Date.''

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''Survivor'': Mark Burnett's Wicked, Wicked Ways

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 11, 2006

Mark Burnett is a very successful and (generally) smart TV producer. He also has more than a little Barnum in him, and tonight's ''Survivor'' showed once again that he will happily play with the audience in order to keep it around a little longer.

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The Cone of Silence

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 11, 2006

''The cone of silence has lifted!'' a co-worker said to me this morning. ''Cone of silence'' is shorthand around here for ''Don't talk to me about (a given show) because I have not seen it yet and don't want to spoil the surprise.'' In this case, the cone was protecting ''Gilmore Girls'' and ''Veronica Mars.'' Myself, I'm still in the cone for ''Alias,'' since I have not yet gotten to last night's episode. Given the glut of serialized dramas out there right now (not to mention some serialized comedies), people around here spend a fair amount of time in a cone.

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''Idol," ''Lost'': Morning After (Updated From Earlier)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 11, 2006

Well, here's the theme for next week's ''American Idol,'' from Fox: ''Each contestant will sing three songs – one selected by famed producer Clive Davis, one by the IDOL judges and one of his or her own choosing.'' The announcement, by the way, did not include vote totals for this week's show, usually a sign that the vote was lower than anticipated.

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''Lost''/''Amazing Race''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 10, 2006

Well, we're back to that faith vs. empiricism argument on ''Lost.'' In this case, do we accept this simply as a Dharma psych experiment or is something more meaningful going on? Or, is this a psych experiment that went wrong and so is creating a place for something meaningful to happen? Are we heading toward a point where someone's redemptive act is not followed by death?

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''Idol'' Results

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 10, 2006

''Gilmore Girls''/''Veronica Mars''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 9, 2006

There aren't enough hours these days to keep up with TV, and everything else. Because of ''Idol'' and the podcast, and a few home things, it was after 10 before we got to ''Gilmore Girls.'' I was thinking about sleeping then, only my stomach decided it was time to do some flip-flops. So while I waited to see if it would flip or flop, I watched ''Veronica Mars.''

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''American Idol'' (With Podcast Info)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 9, 2006

Here's the link to the latest podcast:

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Pain Don't Hurt

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 8, 2006

If you read the above line and immediately thought of a certain movie, then I don't have to explain to you why the following is newsworthy:

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Sunday Night...

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 7, 2006

Well, I got those other two bushes out, more easily than the first one, proving that even a little experience can ease the task. (By the way, after writing this morning's post, I went to church, where the sermon was called ''Spring Pruning'' and the pastor had many stories about his own fun with plants. Sometimes these things are in the air -- especially when the air has bright sun and warmth passing through it, and being outside is mandatory.) We have accumulated groceries. The bride cleaned house and put a second coat of paint on the shed door, and washed her car, and made a lasagna. I ran the edger along the sidewalks, which wasn't bad, and swept up the cuttings, which is not among my favorite things. Younger son went to his job.

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Sunday Morning...

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 7, 2006

Imagine two bushes covered in red leaves and thorns, each more than five feet high. Now put a smaller bush, anemic and past its prime between them. In front of the smaller bush is a sidewalk light, but it's easily removed. Near the back of the bush is the house itself, and an overhang that is a little under five feet above the ground. Now try to dig out the little bush, and its thick, persistent roots.

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''Lost''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 5, 2006

The cone of silence about ''Lost'' lifted late last night. Actually, it had partly lifted earlier, when that co-worker talked to me, since her comment involved Ana Lucia getting shot. I managed to avoid any additional information yesterday, but when watching the show, I kept waiting through the episode for the shooting. But I sure wasn't prepared until the last moment for Michael to be the shooter -- or for Libby to serve as collateral damage. What a disaster, what a nightmare, what a thrill. Completely topped the earlier moment when the hostage Other made the overture to Locke. But the shock was so great in this week's episode, it diminished the weeks leading up to it, making it feel even more as if we have been sitting through filler on the way to some really big episodes.

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Sorkin Rides Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 4, 2006

I wrote a column for today's Beacon Journal about how important writers and directors can be to actors. (You can find it here.) In it I mentioned the collaboration of Aaron Sorkin and Bradley Whitford, and that Whitford was planning a new project with Sorkin. Today, NBC picked up that project as a series for the fall. Here's the announcement:

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When Elvis Met Simon (Sort Of)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 4, 2006

"American Idol'' is about to take on Elvis Presley. Or, as the official announcement from Fox says, ''Next week, put on your blue suede shoes and don’t leave the building as the remaining four contestants each perform two songs by the original (Hound) Dog – Elvis Presley. To prepare, the finalists will travel to

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The Cavs, The Cone, The Commander, ''House'' and Other Notes

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 4, 2006

Last night ran late, due to some technical difficulties with the ''American Idol'' podcast (and thanks again to everyone who is tuning in the 'casts and to this blog) and then the Cavs going overtime, and I still have not gotten to ''Lost.'' So I'm in the cone of silence until I can catch up to it. (Well, mostly a cone of silence. I was just with a group of co-workers and one wanted to talk about a news report she had seen about last night's episode. I began screaming, ''NOOOOOOOOOOOO!'' She said she thought I saw all these shows a week ahead of everyone. Would that it were so.) I haven't seen Tuesday's ''Gilmore Girls'' yet either.

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''Idol'' Results Plus Podcast

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 3, 2006

''Grey's Anatomy''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 3, 2006

The bride and I finally got around to Sunday's ''Grey's'' on Tuesday night, squeezing it in between obligations, before focusing on ''American Idol.'' While there were plenty of things to like about the episode, the thing I've been thinking most about is Alex (Justin Chambers). He is such a -- well, I can't use the word I want to use here. But he is an awful human being. Not awful because he's misunderstood, or awful because he has inner pain. He's just awful. Although he might pretend that he ratted out Addison because of some principle, we know he did it just to get even with someone he didn't like.

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''Veronica Mars''

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 3, 2006

If last night's episode was the last of the season, it would be a pretty dazzling ending. (One quibble: Shouldn't Veronica have thought of Mac as math tutor? First person I thought of.) Once again, money and power had reigned in Neptune. Justice would be denied. Veronica, Logan, Keith, Wallace -- all would have emotional baggage to carry into another season, while evildoers like Woody and Aaron would still be safe somewhere.

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''Idol'': Twofer Tuesday (With Podcast Info)

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 2, 2006

I've been having some difficulty logging on to post tonight, so I'll apologize in advance if things go haywire. (In fact, I did have some trouble later, so I didn't get the podcast link here as soon as hoped. But here it is now:

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Things That Make Me Laugh

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 2, 2006

On ''How I Met Your Mother'': Marshall trying to put wedding invitations in envelopes. On ''Two and a Half Men'': The toes playing ''Family Feud,'' the rendition of ''Bohemian Rhapsody.'' Neither show had a sustained episode, but both had moments that were fiercely funny.

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''House'' Two-Parter

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 1, 2006

This weekend was a ''House'' triple-header: finally catching up to the DVR of last week's episode, followed by the two-part telecast airing this week (at 9 p.m. Tuesday and then 8 p.m. Wednesday).

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''Sopranos,'' ''West Wing,'' ''Alias'' and Other Weekend Viewing

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 1, 2006

The weekend's TV viewing consisted of bits and pieces here and there, operating around chores of one sort or another. Did catch pieces of the NFL Draft, Indians baseball and Cavs basketball, though in no case did I watch something in its entirety. (The sports weekend was complete this morning when movie critic George Thomas -- diehard Buckeye and Browns fan -- declared, ''Santonio Holmes is DEAD to me!'')

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