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by Jessy Krupa

29 Jul 2010


Forgive me for the vague title, but Paul McCartney: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, in Performance is an exceedingly long name for a TV special, even if it is on PBS. Unfortunately, its title wasn’t the only thing that needed a little more planning.

The special, which debuted Wednesday night, began with some behind-the-scenes footage of McCartney arriving at the capitol and meeting with some of the show’s performers, with concert footage from his Good Evening New York City DVD mixed in for good measure. Unfortunately, this interesting video was presented to us in black and white. This could have been a nod to A Hard Day’s Night, but I still think it would have been better in color. Fortunately, the rest of the event (except “Yesterday”) was in the type of clear, color film that really pops out in HDTV.

McCartney opened the festivities with “Got to Get You Into My Life”, and you can tell just from the way he said “white house” how important this was to him. A nice touch to the event was the fact that Paul’s own touring band provided back up for both him and most of the other performers. However, being broadcast from a rather small stage in what appeared to be a dining room, the acoustics seemed to be a little off throughout the night.

by Crispin Kott

27 Jul 2010


There are few destinations in this world or any other that simply scream summer more than Greenpoint. Greenpoint, the Brooklyn neighborhood with hipster-lousy Williamsburg to the south and undeniably less hipster-lousy Long Island City to the north, is a sweltering morass of concrete and cacophony this time of year, with the relief of the occasional breeze offset by the stench of rotting garbage, human waste and cigarette smoke carried along in its dithering. Greenpoint, naturally, is where the iconic guest house on USA’s Royal Pains is located.

Okay, so that isn’t exactly true. I mean, yes, the guest house that’s larger than most domiciles in the neighborhood actually is in Greenpoint, but only the interior. Utilizing some terrifically (for television) Hollywood magic, the producers of Royal Pains have constructed a spacious Hamptons cottage complete with ocean breezes in a Greenpoint studio. It’s also my neighborhood, which meant I was able to walk there during a recent visit to the set as cast and crew worked on an episode of the show, currently in its second season. These puppeteers of Tinseltown tomfoolery haven’t just performed an architectural miracle in Brooklyn; they’ve also beaten the odds and (at least presently) put a previously cursed actor into a hit series. 

by Lana Cooper

22 Jul 2010


When I was a kid, I remember my mother and father talking about the then-new concept of reality television. Shows like MTV’s The Real World had spearheaded the movement with competition reality shows such as Survivor soon followed suit. Following the writers’ strike of 2000, reality television soon permeated the airways in an effort to bolster networks’ television schedules affected by a lack of show scribes, reality television received a surge in popularity that stuck well beyond the strike.

One of the most frequent points that cropped up in my parents’ conversation regarding reality television was one or the other griping: “It’s only a matter of time before they show somebody die on television.”

As it turns out, my folks were right. It happened. Death was televised and broadcast to the masses—this time in entertainment form, rather than via newscast.

by Chris Conaton

21 Jul 2010


Deadliest Catch has found itself with a fine line to walk in its sixth season. One of its crab-fishing boat captains, Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie, suffered a massive stroke in January on his boat and passed away in an Anchorage hospital a few weeks later. Deadliest Catch has been The Discovery Channel’s highest-rated show for several years now, and as such his stroke and subsequent passing were much-publicized in the mainstream news media. Since these events happened in the middle of filming, there was no way for the show to gloss over his death. In fact, Harris himself insisted that the cameras keep rolling while he was in the hospital.

by Andy Johnson

19 Jul 2010


Without doubt, Luther has been one of the cornerstones of the British television schedule this year so far. Its six episodes broadcast across May and June, the BBC’s latest police drama starred Idris Elba as its gruff and conflicted titular hero and commanded a significant, if somewhat inconsistent, share of the ratings. Already released on DVD, the series has also been penned into BBC America’s schedules for later this year. Broadly well-received critically in the UK and arguably already possessing a cult fan following, it’s interesting to speculate about how Luther might be welcomed in the United States.

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