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Monday, May 18, 2009
Prison Break wrapped up its fourth and final season on Friday. Here's what happened for those of you who tuned out long ago from one of television's most entertaining (and definitely its most ridiculous) action shows.

Prison Break is over. Three seasons after Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) successfully broke his falsely accused brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) out of Fox River Penitentiary, and two seasons after creators originally intended the show to end, it’s done. Well, mostly. Word is that they’ve cooked up one more two-hour special that takes place between the end of the last episode and it’s “4 Years Later” epilogue. But for all intents and purposes, the show wrapped up on Friday night.


Some people have complained that the show lost its momentum in the second season, as the characters got out of prison and separated. Others thought it jumped the shark in the third season, when most of the characters ended up in another prison, this time in Panama. “It got completely ridiculous!” they shout. I submit that the show was always completely ridiculous and that they’re remembering season one through rose-colored glasses. Look, I’ll admit that the twist at the end of season two that put them back in prison was over-the-top silly, but that was the point where I decided to mostly stop worrying about the logic of the show and just enjoy the twisty thrills it provided on a week-to-week basis. Clearly they had to come up with something when Fox renewed the show past the second season, so they completely embraced the pulp fiction/1940s movie serial-style action that was always bubbling under the surface. Prison Break always packed in the thrills and suspense, and they always knew when to ratchet up the action. This kept the show as an exciting guilty pleasure even when it bent over backwards with the twists.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009
Adam Lambert may have all the buzz, but there's just something about underdog Kris Allen.

Channel Surfing readers: you owe me. I haven’t watched an entire American Idol results show in years, but last night I suffered through it in order to properly weigh in on next week’s Final Two showdown.


I hate the results shows. They represent everything loathsome about American Idol: excruciating chatter by the judges; shameless product placements for Ford and Coke; and Ryan Seacrest torturing the contestants by dragging out the two minutes we actually care about—who stays and who goes home.


But never have I had so much invested in the next American Idol. No I’m not talking about the debate over Adam Lambert’s sexuality or Danny Gokey’s personality flaws. I like Adam and dislike Danny but the contestant I really cared about this season was underdog Kris Allen.


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Monday, May 11, 2009
Bravo fails to capture 'Runway' magic with The Fashion Show.

Memo to Isaac Mizrahi: I know Tim Gunn. Tim Gunn is a friend of mine. And you sir, are no Tim Gunn.


And therein lies key failing of The Fashion Show, Bravo’s attempt to recover from Project Runway’s flight to Lifetime. Anyone who’s seen the real deal will recognize the show and all of its moving parts as a limp imitation.


Instead of the glorious Gunn and snarky Heidi Klum, we’re stuck with the middling Mizrahi and former Destiny’s Child second banana Kelly Rowland. As Bravo reality hosts go, the stiff Rowland is deep in Katie Lee Joel territory.


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Thursday, May 7, 2009
GM's new "Total Confidence" ad campaign doesn't inspire much confidence in this viewer.

Like most people in Corporate America, back in my suit-guy days I attended my share of ‘change management’ seminars (corpo-speak for a half-day’s brainwashing on how getting schtupped by the boss is good for you). Invariably the session leader would make a statement about how the railroad companies lost out to the private automobile in the early 1900s because they couldn’t think outside box: they thought they were in the train business and didn’t realize that they were in transportation business, the refrain typically went.


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Monday, May 4, 2009

There are plenty of reasons why Chuck is currently on the verge of cancellation. Its location on Monday nights leading into Heroes was supposed to be a great idea, but as Chuck began its first season, Heroes embarked on what would go on to be a universally derided sophomore slump of a season and unfortunately, Chuck seemed to be one of its casualties. In addition, the series has had to contend with the Dancing With the Stars juggernaut, the very established House, and CBS’s run of successful half-hour comedies. 


What should be just as obvious as all the obstacles facing Chuck in the ratings war is that this is a series that has managed to meld comedy, drama, romance, intrigue, and action with just the right balance to keep the story fresh and the audience it does have invested. This season’s final two episodes showcased brilliantly just how deftly it’s kept all these elements alive while creating a story with just as much over-the-top silliness as subtle emotional depth to keep fans rooting for its return. Oh, and there’s also that cliffhanger it ended on.


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