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Thursday, April 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 36.0° F  Overcast
The Daily

TELEVISION

Mildred Pierce handles its source material way too politely

HBO turns the James M. Cain novel/Joan Crawford movie Mildred Pierce into a prestige project: a five-part miniseries starring Kate Winslet as a beleaguered mom-turned-businesswoman in the 1930s. The story is your basic trashy melodrama, but director Todd Haynes treats it with misguided tastefulness. >More
 Dancing with the Stars recovers from the Bristol Palin fiasco

Dancing with the Stars had always been a silly showcase for bad dancing. But last season, it took an ugly turn. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol joined the competition (even though the title includes the word "stars") and proceeded to touch off a civil war in the United States. >More
 Nerds battle for supremacy in Best Player

You will be tempted to bypass Best Player because it is a kids' movie on Nickelodeon. Do not, I repeat do not, make this mistake. The tale of an overgrown videogame champion (Jerry Trainor) attempting to undercut his embarrassingly young and female rival (Jennette McCurdy) is one of the funniest things I've seen on TV this season. >More
 America's Next Great Restaurant is a tasty treat

America's Next Great Restaurant is a brilliant concept for a reality series, and it's also brilliantly executed. It searches for entrepreneurs who have a viable scheme for a "fast-casual" restaurant -- in other words, the next Chipotle -- and takes them through the steps for making their dream a reality. >More
 Best Oscars ever

For once, I feel like the gods are with me on Oscar night. I think Christopher Nolan is an overrated director, and he got shut out of the Best Director category for Inception. The overrated Black Swan and The Social Network also got their share of snubs. >More
 MSNBC's Ed Schultz pumps up the protesters -- and himself -- with a live broadcast from the Capitol

On Thursday night, MSNBC's Ed Schultz filmed The Ed Show live from the Capitol's anti-Scott Walker demonstration, convinced he'd found ground zero of a new American revolution. In his booming voice, the cable host lionized the demonstrators for opposing Gov. Walker's assault on Wisconsin public employees, He also took time to lionize himself, using this historic event to boost himself to historic status. >More
 Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior gloomily chases psychos

In the spin-off Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior, an elite team of FBI agents use unlikely behavioral analysis to catch unlikely psychopaths. Forest Whitaker sets the tone as team leader Sam Cooper: grim determination. So grim that it makes the original Criminal Minds look like a salsa dance-off. >More
 Matthew Perry recycles his Friends character in Mr. Sunshine

Matthew Perry created one of the all-time great TV characters during his stint on Friends: a nervous schlub who compensated for his deficiencies with razor-sharp wisecracks. Perry has tried to peddle the same character in several productions since then, but he's never found a context that fits him the way Friends did. Mr. Sunshine continues the losing streak. >More
 The Chicago Code hits the mean streets

True to its name, The Chicago Code serves up the Windy City on a platter. Everything feels authentic in this new cop series, starting with settings that range from posh skyscraper offices to cruddy vacant lots. >More
 The Lost Valentine benefits from World War II clichés

We now live in a hyper-ironic world, but The Lost Valentine comes from some other world entirely. This Hallmark Hall of Fame production tells the unapologetically sappy story of a woman named Caroline (Betty White) who lost her Navy pilot husband to World War II and, every Valentine's Day since, has made a pilgrimage to the train station where they last parted. >More
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