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Friday, August 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 80.0° F  Overcast
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TELEVISION

Fargo the flop: The movie's genius is lost in the translation to series TV

There's only one word for the Coen Brothers' 1996 movie Fargo: genius. It creates a parallel universe where a desperate family man contracts with criminals and gets tripped up by a cop who's shrewder than she looks. The Coens keep comedy and carnage, satire and suspense, in perfect balance. As I said, genius. >More
 A techie strikes it rich in the brilliant satire Silicon Valley

With Beavis and Butt-head, Mike Judge established himself as the bard of mumbling, antisocial, all-American nerds. But Judge tops himself with Silicon Valley, which locates the nerve center of modern-day nerd culture in the San Francisco area's tech industry. >More
 In Surviving Jack, hapless '90s teens make room for daddy

Fox had the brilliant idea of building a sitcom around Christopher Meloni's hard-guy routine. In Surviving Jack, the veteran character actor (42, True Blood) does what he does best: finding the humor in a fearsome authority figure who's exasperated by the idiots in his midst. >More
 John Leguizamo tells his tragicomic life story in Ghetto Klown

In a stunning one-man show called Ghetto Klown, John Leguizamo presents a "cautionary tale." He details his progression from a poor Latino boy to a showbiz star to a jerk. Leguizamo may be the most appealing jerk in Broadway history. >More
 In Crisis, criminal masterminds use teenagers to take over the world

An icy CEO (Gillian Anderson), a troubled ex-CIA analyst (Dermot Mulroney) and other D.C. parents drop off their kids at an elite high school for a field trip. Before long, the bus is ambushed by criminal masterminds who blackmail the well-connected parents to do their bidding. >More
 A 10-year-old savior goes on the run in Believe

A 10-year-old girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) has extraordinary powers, along with being extraordinarily cute. She can see the future, control nature and even save the world " that is, if the bad guys don't kidnap her for their own nefarious purposes. >More
 Psycho's creepy killer commands the small screen in Bates Motel

The acclaimed Bates Motel adapts Alfred Hitchcock's horror classic Psycho, as Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) and troubled son Norman (Freddie Highmore) run a motel in a town with more than its share of unexplained murders. The second-season premiere contains all the perversity you'd expect while still exercising an admirable Hitchcockian restraint. >More
 Con artists experiment with psychology in Mind Games

Clark (Steve Zahn) is a disgraced academic with bipolar disorder. Russ (Christian Slater) is his perpetually exasperated con-man brother, just out of prison for fraud. This odd couple start an ethically questionable business that can alter the way people act, based on Clark's experimental research on "adrenalized implantation." In the pilot of Mind Games they test out their method to help a sick kid who's having problems with the medical establishment. >More
 Star-Crossed is a misfit-teen story featuring aliens

After aliens crash-land on Earth, the military herds them into a detention camp. They look just like humans " indeed, the gorgeous alien teenagers could easily be mistaken for stars of a CW series " but most Earthlings despise them. As an experiment in integration, the authorities allow seven alien kids to attend a normal high school. >More
 Alice Walker, for and against: American Masters profiles the controversial writer

Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth tells the unlikely story of a poor African American sharecropper's daughter who dedicates herself to changing the world and, against all odds, does. Walker immersed herself in the civil rights and women's liberation struggles of the 1960s and wrote about them in poems and novels. >More
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