The Year in TV: August 2010

Sons of Tucson

Continuing out look at the year’s most notable television events, here’s what happened in August 2010.

At the 62nd Primetime Emmys, The Pacific (eight wins), Modern Family (six wins), and Mad Men (four wins) are the night’s biggest winners.


NBC airing of the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards marked the first time the event was shown live in all time zones. Jimmy Fallon hosts the show to warm reviews, especially for his hilarious tribute to the series that ended this year.


Throughout the month, most PBS stations airAretha Franklin Presents: Soul Rewind. In the special, Franklin hosts vintage clips of many R&B/soul hits like Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, “Dancing in the Street” by Martha & the Vandellas, “You Really Got a Hold on Me” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, and “Lady Marmalade” by Labelle.


Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart announces that she is leaving the show after 30 years, beginning next year. Her co-anchor position will be taken over by former Access Hollywood alum Nancy O’Dell.


The Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” line-up featured six new shark specials and was hosted by Craig Ferguson. With over 30.8 million viewers, it was the most-watched out of the network’s 23 years of Shark Weeks.


The Home Shopping Network, HSN, launched a sister channel, HSN2.


The Canadian export, 18 to Life garners low ratings on America’s CW network and is canceled after six episodes. The show still airs in other parts of the world.


In anticipation of the new Fall season in September, there weren’t very many series premieres this month. ABC Family’s Melissa & Joey, Showtime’s The Big C, and Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Washington, D.C. are exceptions.


Several series ended this month, including FOX’s Sons of Tucson, ABC Family’s Huge, and the syndicated At the Movies.


Some of the important television personalities who left us this month include actress Patricia Neal, TV producer David L. Wolper, Sky King’s Gloria Winters, and journalists Edwin Newman, James Kilpatrick, and Harold Dow.

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If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

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60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

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This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

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Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

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