• Spoiler Alert: TV Recaps Are Useless, Lazy 'Journalism'
    Few forms of so-called "journalism" are as useless as the TV recap. And yet they're all over the place.This kind of writing about television lacks value for two big reasons. People who are fans of a TV show getting recapped have, in all likelihood, already watched the show themselves, which means they have no reason to read a recap, and if these fans of a TV show happened to miss the show and they've recorded it to watch later, or plan on watching it on-demand, then they have another reason not to read these detailed, morning-after summaries, which can only ...
  • Bottoms Up! 'Sons of Anarchy' Sex Scene Bares All
    Is there anything they can't show on TV these days? Technically, there is plenty they can't (or won't) show, at least on what has long been known as "advertiser-supported" TV. What triggers this discussion? The jaw-dropping sex montage that opened last night's episode of "Sons of Anarchy" on FX -- which, the last time I looked, was still a commercial-supported TV network. All I can say is: Holy cow!
  • 'Too Many Cooks' Jumps The Shark
    Can a one-off video produced for middle-of-the-night play on a niche cable channel withstand critical scrutiny after it has gone viral? Probably. Once a video like "Too Many Cooks" takes off in popularity, it's not really possible to blunt the spread of its notoriety by pointing out its flaws -- and videos like "Too Many Cooks" have this very intriguing way of bypassing critical scrutiny.
  • 'Tonight' Reunion: Fallon Fake-Laughs While Leno Recycles Stale Material
    What has Jay Leno been up to since he stepped down from "The Tonight Show" last February? Well, among other things, he's been letting himself go stale in the comedy department. That much was in evidence when he turned up last Friday night as Jimmy Fallon's guest on the current incarnation of "The Tonight Show."
  • What Is Your Personal TV History?
    TV critic David Bianculli, who has been writing about TV in one way or another for just shy of 40 years, is taking a whack at the concept of "a personal TV history" by putting his own TV history on display for all to see. The result is a unique gallery exhibition in Manhattan's Tribeca titled "Bianculli's Personal Theory of TV Evolution." The show opened Nov. 6 and runs through Dec. 20. Visitors who step inside will come upon an exhibition of iconic objects that are rarely seen in New York -- objects that Bianculli wrangled for this show because ...
  • Defiant To The End, 'The Newsroom' Returns To HBO
    Two-and-a-half years ago when "The Newsroom" premiered, I found this show's long sermons about journalism to be nearly impossible to sit through. Today, however, I have to respect creator/producer Aaron Sorkin (who is chiefly responsible for writing this show) for his defiance in the face of the criticism this show has received. Most notably, critics have long decried the obvious way this show puts its points across -- using a verbal bludgeoning technique to find fault with the way news is gathered and disseminated today at the intersection of TV and social media.
  • It's Neil Patrick Harris' World, And We Just Live In It
    The other day I came across a story that was high on Yahoo's "trending" list, about how Neil Patrick Harris and his family celebrated Halloween. And I thought: When did the life of Neil Patrick Harris become so interesting that no day seems to go by without a story about him?
  • Watchdog Group's Gripe About 'Charlie Brown' And 'Scandal' Is A Lost Cause
    Pity the poor Parents Television Council. While you're at it, you can thank them too -- because we should always take pity on those who undertake lost causes, and keep on undertaking them, despite the long odds against their efforts making any difference. Take the PTC's most recent gripe concerning the manner in which ABC programmed last Thursday's prime-time lineup. The Los Angeles-based watchdog group, which monitors the airwaves for content it deems extreme, is complaining about the way a kiddie Halloween special segued abruptly into a sex scene that opened last week's episode of "Scandal."
  • Discovery's Live Tightrope Telecast Was A High-Level Feat
    Nik Wallenda's live tightrope walk over the Chicago River Sunday night on Discovery was a bravura performance -- by Wallenda himself certainly, but also by the production team that put this telecast together.
  • Child's Play: Fallon Is Winning Late-Night Wars With Kiddie Games
    Not only is Fallon firmly in first place in the late-night ratings wars, but the games he plays with his guests play well in the coveted "after-market" of late-night TV shows -- the Internet. With strong ratings and YouTube views, it's no wonder that Fallon is encouraged to continue engaging in these childish games with his guests -- who, incidentally, are aiding and abetting him by agreeing to participate in the first place. Perhaps they and their handlers feel their willingness to put themselves in situations in which they look foolish will enhance their images, particularly among the younger viewers ...
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