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Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013
With ample amounts of blood and guts, TV today is pushing the envelope of the violence. But is all this gore just masquerading creative shortcomings?

Over 10 years ago, I reviewed the FX original series The Shield for PopMatters.  At the time, I praised the lead performance of Michael Chiklis and lamented what I saw as the violence-for-the-sake-of-violence, graphic-for-the-sake-of-being-graphic style of the series and wondered where all this new frankness in the name of “realism” was going to lead us in the coming years.


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Thursday, Sep 12, 2013
More than a decade since attending her show, the not so behind-the-scenes tactics of day time talk still linger.

If you lived in Chicago in the mid to late 1990s youhad to attend at least one taping of one of the talk shows that were at that time being produced in the city. You just had to go, there was not even a choice. It would have been like being in London and not stopping by Big Ben, or being in Paris and not hitting up the Eiffel Tower. One simply did it, no questions asked.


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Monday, Sep 9, 2013
As the controversial season of the CBS reality show concludes for the season, it's time to reflect on what we've learned about TV... and ourselves.

Now that the most recent season of CBS’s annual Big Brother summer reality show is over and the “winner” will soon been declared, it might be good to look back at the arch of the season and process it, now that the reality dust has settled.


Despite the fact that some interesting new twists in the game occurred this year—the incorporation of the “MVP” and MVP nomination and, finally, the rising up of some truly decent female pairings and alliances—Big Brother 2013 will no doubt go down in history as the season of the racists.


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Friday, Aug 30, 2013
In a final season where the ultimate end-game is up for grabs, every character's motivations are up for dissection. Whether anyone can have the ending he seeks, however, remains the ultimate question.

When we left Walter and Hank at the end of “Blood Money”, the two men faced off in what ultimately was a draw. By the time we finish watching this pair of episodes, every other character has become drawn into the ultimate face-off, with everyone’s motivations up for careful critical dissection. What do these people want? What, to each, would be the appropriate ending for Breaking Bad? Over the course of “Buried” and “Confessions” every character gets the chance to showcase exactly what they feel would be the perfect result, and by the time we see Jesse pouring gasoline all over the Whites’ house, setting in motion the future we’ve only seen hints of, we know most of them – if not all – are about to be sorely disappointed.


This is, after all, Breaking Bad, a show which flaunts convention and all but demands an unhappy end for the bulk of its characters.


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Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013
Sometimes TV is so bad it's not even "bad" in a good way! And sometimes it's memorable for all the wrong reasons.

As my mother would be happy to tell you, as a kid and young adult I watched way too much TV. I’ve seen the good, the great and the guilty pleasures. And I’ve also seen the very, very bad. Some TV is so corny and so bad that you just kind of love it in spite of yourself and itself. The Brady Bunch Variety Hour falls into this category. And some TV is more bad by reputation than in actual experience; My Mother the Car is infamous for its very strange premise but, in actuality, wasn’t any more strange nor funny nor unfunny than many other shows on the air at that time.


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