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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Every once in a great while, an ad will rise above the white noise and actually transcend the fetid swamp of commercial television.

Film critic Tom Shales once referred to a Batman sequel as a “wanging, clanging calliope from hell”. I often get the same impression from television ads, as I fumble for my remote’s ‘mute’ button before the onslaught begins.  Yet every once in a great while, an ad will rise above the white noise and actually transcend the fetid swamp of commercial television. Consider the magical 90 seconds of Oreo’s “Wonderfilled” ad that debuted during a recent episode of Mad Men.



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Tuesday, May 7, 2013
It's still nearly all talk all the time, but is daytime's audience changing?

Between the networks and first-run syndication, there are currently 20 daytime talk shows vying for viewers every weekday morning and afternoon. They’re a wide assortment of hosts covering a wide assortment of topics. They range from The View to Jerry Springer to Maury, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Wendy Williams, Steve Wilkos, Jeremy Kyle, The Doctors, Ellen, Rachel Ray, Anderson, The Talk, The Chew, Katie, Steve Harvey, and Live with Kelly and Michael, among others.


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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013
In light of Seth McFarlane's controversial performance at the Oscars, maybe it's time we rethink all the bare bodies.

Warning:  I’m about to become a prude.


As everyone knows, Seth McFarlane set off a major media fire storm with his recent Oscar telecast hosting duties.  Perhaps his most “irreverent” or “offensive” moment (check your pleasure) was his musical ode to naked breasts in the movies, “We Saw Your Boobs”.


And, yes, it was silly and totally sophomoric and didn’t show a lot of respect for the purpose of the evening, but the criticism it drew for days after, to me, largely missed the bigger issue.


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Thursday, Apr 18, 2013
Mixing business with pleasure is now, as ever, the norm on TV... even if it shouldn't be.

Ironically, at a time when most businesses and corporations are doing there best to discourage interoffice dating and fraternization, and sexual harassment is still a hot button topic—still being defined and still devolving into a series of angry “he said/she said” confrontations—television can’t seem to get enough of love in the workplace.


For decades now, we’ve seen an endless parade of television series—both comedy and drama—that have as their one overarching theme:  When are these two going to finally get together?


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Wednesday, Apr 3, 2013
Writer-director Jane Campion brings her passion for moral complexity to the small screen with Top of the Lake, Sundance Channel's newest original series.

We meet Tui Mitcham (Jaqueline Joe) very briefly in the first episode of Top of the Lake when we learn that she is pregnant, 12 years old and tough as nails. She disappears shortly thereafter, leaving few clues as to where she’s gone or who the father of her as-yet unborn child is. It’s a moody premise made darker by its remote New Zealand setting and the striking cast of characters who make up her family, friends and her town’s residents. At the center of the new Sundance Channel show is Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss), an ambitious young detective who has returned to her New Zealand hometown to lead the search for Tui.


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