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Thursday, January 29, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 33.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


The Inbetweeners identifies a unique high school demographic

Based on a British series, The Inbetweeners puts its finger on high school's "in-between" cohort. Our four male heroes fit somewhere in between the lowest and highest social strata, and they're forever attempting to boost their status. These attempts inevitably end in humiliation, making them the object of derision for the jocks and popular girls. >More
 Hotel Hell lays waste to innkeepers' dreams

British chef Gordon Ramsay has made a specialty of yelling at food-service folks in the reality series Hell's Kitchen, MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares. Looking to expand his yelling franchise, he branches out to hoteliers in the entertaining Hotel Hell. Ramsay travels the country to help struggling innkeepers -- a.k.a. sitting ducks. >More
 Breaking Bad heads toward a grim conclusion

I hope you're not letting the Olympics distract you from Breaking Bad's final season. This is TV history in the making, folks. The series is a profound investigation of corruption -- the corruption of a single man's soul. And the new episodes suggest that Breaking Bad will work out its morality play with brutal integrity. >More
 Zombies at the London Olympics? Expect the unexpected at the opening ceremony

I was put off by the militaristic strain in Beijing's opening ceremony for the 2008 Olympics, complete with goose-stepping soldiers. But it didn't dampen my enthusiasm for Olympics opening ceremonies in general. I love the parade of nations, the torch ceremony, the sense of epic dramas waiting to unfold. >More
 A documentary pays tribute to gay-rights pioneer Vito Russo

Vito Russo isn't a household name, but he still deserves a spot on the Mount Rushmore of pioneering gay heroes. The documentary Vito tells the story of a boy who grew up with outrageous prejudice in the 1950s and '60s, then became an indomitable activist in the 1970s and '80s. Russo was a key figure in organizing a gay rights movement following the 1969 Stonewall Riots, aided by tremendous charisma and eloquence. >More
 Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen puts his foot in his mouth in The Franchise

Showtime's The Franchise takes us behind the scenes of a sports franchise, right in the middle of a season. This year it's the Miami Marlins, who were expecting big things for 2012. They have a new stadium, a new name, new uniforms, new stars and a new manager in the foul-mouthed Ozzie Guillen. Owner Jeff Loria hoped the Marlins would be the talk of baseball. >More
 The Closer pours on the steam in its final episodes

The Closer returns for one more season of detective work, and it looks to be a doozy. Deputy chief Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick), of the LAPD's major crimes division, burns a hole in the TV screen in the very first scene of the premiere episode. >More
 Performance artist Marina Abramovic uses herself as a canvas

Marina Abramovic is called the Grandmother of Performance Art, but she's not like any grandmother I've ever known. In the documentary Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Abramovic shows that she is still committed to messing with our minds after a long and painful career in the artistic trenches. >More
 Aaron Sorkin screws up TV journalism in The Newsroom

In Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom, complacent TV anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) rediscovers his inner Edward R. Murrow with the help of passionate new producer (and old flame) MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer). All the Sorkin trademarks are here, familiar from The West Wing: smart dialogue, prickly professionals immersed in their high-powered jobs, even the long tracking shots as characters barrel down a hallway in mid-conversation. >More
 Bristol Palin positions herself as a 'simple girl' on Life's a Tripp

Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp is a reality series about Sarah Palin's daughter -- the one who got pregnant at 17 and is raising young son Tripp as a single mom. I'm tempted to comment on the title's idiotic pun, but Bristol puts me on notice. >More
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