• From Silly To Profane: Publicity Materials Sent To TV Columnists Run The Gamut
    Maybe I'm old-fashioned, but the quality and permissiveness of some of the publicity materials I have received recently from various media companies are pushing the boundaries of good taste (to put it tastefully). And in other cases, some of the "news" releases I have been receiving make me wonder if TV can get any sillier.
  • Controversy Is Difficult to Generate When No One Gets Offended Anymore
    Is there really such a thing as "controversy" anymore on TV? The question arises in the wake of the "Daily Show" segment seen last Thursday night, in which "Daily Show" correspondent Jason Jones went in search of opposing viewpoints about the appropriateness of the Washington Redskins team name.
  • Just In Time For The Jewish High Holidays, Fox Celebrates 'The Simpsons'
    Give "The Simpsons" credit for audacity. The long-running Fox series returns for its 26th season Sunday night with a Jewish-themed episode airing smack in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays. It's a very special night for "The Simpsons." Not only is the show returning for season No. 26-- itself an achievement that boggles the mind -- but the Simpson family will get an extra hour of exposure a half-hour later when the special one-hour season premiere of "Family Guy" at 9 has the Griffin family contriving a getaway to Springfield, where they end up as guests in the Simpson …
  • Thursday Night On ABC: How To Get Away With Garbage
    The verdict on "How to Get Away with Murder" is: guilty -- by reason of absurdity. Once you start piling on the secrets and shifting back and forth in time, you get the feeling that plausibility will not turn out to be this show's strong suit. "How to Get Away With Murder" is an un-pleasurable, one-hour exercise in cynicism that assumes that its audience agrees that when it comes to people, everyone is guilty of something.
  • Ties That Bind: Discovery's 'Tethered' Revives Reality-Show Memories
    Discovery Channel this week announced a new reality show, "Tethered," premiering Oct. 5 -- which will have pairs of people trying to survive in the wild while tied together with some kind of six-foot rope. It never ceases to amaze those who follow the evolution of reality television (and television generally) that participants can almost always be found who are willing to take part in reality TV shows -- no matter how ludicrous, or in the case of these "survival" shows, rigorous.
  • 'Gotham' Is The Best New Show Of The Fall Season
    It's a brooding, eye-catching show with its cinematic depiction of the fictional Gotham City as a dark, dangerous, decaying, trash-strewn place -- like the way New York was once depicted in the bad old days of the 1970s and 1980s. "Gotham" performs the pretty neat trick of being a TV series about Batman in which Batman, technically, does not even appear. Instead, it's a pre-Batman series -- an "origin" story of the type comic-book aficionados apparently adore.
  • The Show Goes On: 'Fashion Police' Eyes Future Without Joan
    It certainly seems appropriate, at least on the face of it, that "Fashion Police" would continue without Joan Rivers. As a show business veteran, it's possible to imagine that she would agree, based at the very least on the old show business saw about the show going on.
  • They're Highly Touted, But These Shows Remain Unconvincing
    Sometimes when I'm watching TV, I find myself thinking: I'm not buying it. Maybe I'm an incurable skeptic (a helpful trait when one writes columns about television for a living), but sometimes the storylines and characters that some TV shows expect you to accept on more or less face value don't quite measure up to the level of acceptance they're striving for. Here are three examples of shows a lot of people like, but I'm not buying.
  • Too Big To Fail: Why The NFL On TV Is Still On Top
    It would qualify as a pretty big TV story if TV's highest-rated show was threatened with extinction because of the off-screen misbehavior of one or more of its stars. The fact is, it will likely take circumstances quite different from these stories of off-the-field violence to derail the NFL.While Rosie O'Donnell and others complain about the intensity of professional football and the violence that it spawns, it is precisely that violence and intensity on the field that keeps millions glued to their sets.
  • Narrators And Internet Geniuses: Decoding The 'Mysteries' Of The New Fall Season
    What's new in the new fall season? Not much, when you get right down to it. With the new network TV season set to begin officially next week (and already partially underway this week), here are a few things I observed while watching the fall pilots over the last few weeks. Consider yourself warned ...
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