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Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Fog/Mist
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When did True Blood get so good?

Last year, I bailed on the vampire series True Blood after the first episode. It struck me as contrived, straining after black humor, depraved romance and Southern gothic horror. But something must have happened while I was gone. >More
 A doctor tends to the filthy rich in Royal Pains

In Royal Pains, a brilliant Manhattan ER doctor named Hank cares so much about saving lives that he takes on too many patients one day, leading to tragedy. He loses his job, his fiancée and his money, then sinks into lethargy. Enter his horndog brother with a plan to crash the beautiful-people scene in the Hamptons. >More
 The MTV Movie Awards are the antidote to the Oscars

Countering the Oscars' proud deadliness is the MTV Movie Awards. MTV isn't afraid to acknowledge that movies can be fun and thrilling and work brilliantly on their own pop-culture terms -- witness the nominations for Iron Man and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. >More
 A psychiatrist is the real nut in Mental

In Mental, a new director arrives at a psychiatric hospital. Jack (Chris Vance) is as buff and handsome as a male model -- indeed, he's more like a male model than he is a psychiatrist, with a model's penchant for taking off his clothes. His first act as director is to get naked in the hospital hallway as his colleagues look on in shock. >More
 A star is born on American Idol

I've always wondered what would happen if young, undiscovered Elvis Presley were a contestant on American Idol. Would Fox just shut down the season after a week or two? Would the other contestants simply give up, acknowledging that no one could compete with a performer so extraordinary? >More
 The Real Housewives of New Jersey are real scary

Bravo's Real Housewives series has focused on rich middle-aged women in Orange County, Atlanta and New York City -- the kind whose souls can be measured in carats. But The Real Housewives of New Jersey sets new standards for big hair, big nails and big breasts. >More
 Is College Life on MTV too 'real' for its own good?

In College Life, MTV gives cameras to students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an attempt to get the unvarnished truth about undergraduate life. "This is not reality," according to the opening credits. "This is real." >More
 A woman's rage powers In Plain Sight

Everybody loves cable TV's stunning heroines: Holly Hunter of Saving Grace, Kyra Sedgwick of The Closer, Mary-Louise Parker of Weeds, Glenn Close of Damages. Now it's time to start loving Mary McCormack of In Plain Sight. McCormack begins her second season as Mary Shannon, a U.S. marshal involved with the witness protection program in Albuquerque. >More
 Sit Down, Shut Up gets a failing grade

The Simpsons and South Park keep producing genius-level satire while imitators come and go. The latest to come is Sit Down, Shut Up. Now I can't wait for it to go. Like its lead-in, The Simpsons, this animated series tries to be at once stomach-turning and meaningful, stupid and smart. Instead, it's just stomach-turning and stupid. >More
 Harper's Island is damn scary

Scary series don't usually work on broadcast TV, given the frequent interruptions by Burger King commercials. But Harper's Island got under my skin. It's about a wedding party that boats into Harper's Island, the scene of shocking murders seven years ago. >More
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