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Friday, June 28 2013

‘Anna Nicole’s Story of Sheer Shamelessness

This made for TV movie walks a line between camp and earnestness, much as Anna Nicole herself blurred the distinction between tackiness and glamour.


Wednesday, June 26 2013

‘Mad Men: Season Six’: Steps Back and Forward

In this uneven but revelatory season of Mad Men, Don Draper’s mask of identity slipped and his performance became more difficult to maintain.


Tuesday, June 25 2013

‘Frontline: Rape in the Fields’: The Open Secret of Abused Female Farm Workers

This program, developed over a year and featuring interviews with law enforcement authorities as well as victims and accused perpetrators, reveals longstanding, systemic, and overlooked abuse of women.


‘Perception’: Professor Pierce, Again in Pursuit of Abnormalities

As the show takes Dr. Pierce's cue, pinning criminal behavior to a physical location in the brain, it argues that criminals cannot be changed or rehabilitated.


TV Is Put to Good Use With ‘Sex: How It Works’

The research is delivered by individuals willing to talk about sex frankly but intelligently, whether they are academic scholars or “ordinary people” on the street.


Monday, June 24 2013

‘Under the Dome’: Stephen King’s Latest Mini-Series

Though sensationalist intrigues hold sway over the initial plot of Under the Dome, the gradual revelation of mysteries could well provide several seasons’ worth of dramatic interest.


Sunday, June 23 2013

Donal Logue Comes to Tammany Hall in Season 2 of ‘Copper’

Abraham Lincoln's assassination is just months away and there's increasing corruption in New York's Tammany Hall, embodied here by General Brendan Donovan (Donal Logue), new to the series this season.


Tuesday, June 11 2013

‘Twisted’ Asks, How Can You Tell If Someone Is a Sociopath?

Twisted challenges typical representations of delinquent teens early, when Danny, Jo, and their classmates discuss what it means to be a "sociopath" in their psychology class.


Monday, June 10 2013

‘Major Crimes’ Season 2 Is More of the Same Old Faces, Same Old Plots

Somehow, Los Angeles is so bereft of crime that one captain, two senior lieutenants, and three detectives can all work one murder case.


Sunday, June 9 2013

President Mason Settles In for Season 3 of ‘Falling Skies’

As the new season begins, Cochise's presence brings up a host of issues for our human heroes and for the show's plotting.


Thursday, June 6 2013

We Get Zombies, but No Apocalypse in ‘In the Flesh’

What if the zombie apocalypse came and, instead of the human race being reduced to rubble, its members rallied and survived mostly intact?


Tuesday, June 4 2013

Tropes and Twists in ‘Southern Fried Homicide’ & ‘Swamp Murders’

These two new reality TV shows are focused on 'common people' in the Midwest and South -- in particular, common people who keep secrets.


Monday, June 3 2013

‘The Fosters’ Are an Earnest, Sort of New, Normal Family

In a couple of subplots, The Fosters broaches, superficially at least, the complications of striving for color- and culture-blindness in cross-racial adoptions.


Friday, May 31 2013

‘Treehouse Masters’: Reality TV Fantasies

Combining a roughhewn, DIY fortitude with a camera-ready smile, Pete Nelson consults with his clients, helps them make a plan, and then does what he likes to do best: he builds a treehouse.


Tuesday, May 28 2013

What Chance Does a Girl Have? ‘Frontline: Outlawed in Pakistan’

"Why would a 13-year-old girl lie that she's been gang raped by four people?"


‘Ring of Fire’: Jewel as June Carter Cash

Ring of Fire offers a glimpse into the opportunities and costs June encountered, as she transitioned from her place in the Carter Family ("the First Family of Country Music") to being married to Johnny.


Monday, May 20 2013

Quirky Puzzles: ‘The Goodwin Games’

The Goodwin Games wears its quirk on its sleeve. The opening is straight out of The Royal Tenenbaums: while ornate classical music plays, a bowtie-wearing family patriarch (Beau Bridges) sits in a too-perfectly-art-directed library.


‘Motive’ Wonders, Why?

Motive reminds viewers that breaking social norms can lead to dire consequences.


Wednesday, May 15 2013

‘Never Forget To Lie’: Child Survivors of the Holocaust

Looking back on the lies now, the lies that saved lives, this film presents them in the fragments they must remain, appreciates gaps between them, frames images as they allude to losses.


Sunday, May 12 2013

Christopher Guest Does TV with HBO’s ‘Family Tree’

If the plot is thin, the show does offer other pleasures, including the actors’ improv skills, revealed in subtle and hilarious flashes of genius.


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