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TV Reviews

  • Caryn James
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    TV Review. Off the Map, Where Grey's Anatomy Collides With Lost

    The promos for Off the Map, the new ABC drama about doctors in a run-down clinic in a remote South American village, look like Grey’s Anatomy meets Lost, but I never imagined this disappointing clunker would really be that mashup. The series is executive produced by Grey's Shonda Rhimes and created ...

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    TV Review: Shameless, Now With U.S. Welfare Fraud

    Can a falling-down drunk, single father of six, who pays his $700 a month bar tab – when he pays it at all – with his fraudulently-gotten disability checks be the hero of a series? Well, sure. It’s not easy. The original British Shameless, about an irresponsible father and his children, all of them resourcefully skirting the law, was about a family with accents that were sometimes hard to decipher, living in Manchester council housing. They were original, surprising, and they were Britain’s problem. The American remake follows the original almost to the letter, but the distance vanishes when the family lives in Chicago and is cheating the U....

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    TV Review, Downton Abbey: Such Elegant Social Upheaval

    In 1912, the aristocrats and servants at Downton Abbey live in a world where bad news comes by telegram – like the one informing Lord Grantham that his cousin and heir has been lost with the Titanic. By the end of this sumptuous, endlessly entertaining miniseries, it is 1914, a new-fangled telephone...

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    TV Review, Showtime’s Episodes: Matt LeBlanc Outsmarts Joey

    Infotainment and the internet have created a country of show-biz insiders, shrewd about every Hollywood ploy. What dark corners are left after you’ve heard Mel Gibson rant? That makes satire harder to pull off than ever, and it doesn’t take much to see where Showtime’s new Matt LeBlanc series will g...

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    TV Review: Oprah’s OWN Network, Where Fluffy Meets Smart

    Oprah Winfrey has the amazing ability to say things – or rather make pronouncements - that might sound alarming from other people. As she told Barbara Walters about starting OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, “People deserve to have value-centered, inspirational programming.” What? Imagine that value-...

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    TV Review: A Wonderful, Demented "Doctor Who" Christmas Special

    If Michael Gambon is in it, I’m there – but he’s just one reason to watch Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, an energetic, goofy, time-traveling special that sideswipes the Dickens tale and takes off on its own demented path. I’m not praising this as a Doctor Who fanatic. I like the series just fine, bu...

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    Best On Screens This Weekend

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    Ricky Gervais’ Edgy HBO Special

    I used to think that the title of funniest, edgiest (and the two are connected) comedian around was an impossible choice between Chris Rock and Eddie Izzard, but Ricky Gervais’ HBO stand-up show has him closing in on them. He has always been so cheerful and good-natured that he gets away with skewering the most outrageous targets. In the new special -- innocuously called Out of England 2, premiering Saturday -- he is as funny as ever but even darker.He sounds harmless enough. His voice veers into a falsetto as he imitates a disheartened goat sent as a gift to a starving African family: “A week ago I was gamboling around the Cotswolds!” But th...

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