The verdict on Steven Bochco Dean Robbins on Friday 08/29/2008 In the 1980s, I found Steven Bochco's Hill Street Blues authentic and compelling. But I watched an episode on Hulu.com the other day and couldn't believe how cartoonish it looked in retrospect. Maybe that's inevitable for a 20-year-old series, but I feel the same way about Bochco's new lawyer show, Raising the Bar (Monday, 9 p.m., TNT). >MoreMorning stars John Mendels(s)ohn on Friday 08/29/2008, (2) Comments Israel and Iran have just declared war on each other, the Russians have landed on Mars and removed all our flags, and a Middleton man refuses to eat omelets not made with free-range eggs! Those headlines after this look at the weather. >MoreHell to the chief Dean Robbins on Friday 08/22/2008 Helen Thomas, the dean of the White House press corps, specializes in asking uncomfortable questions. Thank You, Mr. President: Helen Thomas at the White House (Thursday, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m., HBO) begins with one such question she asked President George W. Bush: "Your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, and every reason given has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war?" Bush offered his spin, but Thomas wouldn't drop it. So he dropped her, shutting her out in future press conferences. >MoreElvis lives! Dean Robbins on Friday 08/15/2008 On the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, TV Land's Myths and Legends (Saturday, 7 p.m.) delves into the mysteries surrounding his life. But it doesn't do so with what you'd call journalistic rigor. What of the idea that Elvis and Oprah Winfrey are distant cousins? >MoreWhat a way to go Dean Robbins on Friday 08/08/2008 Mystery! just ended "Foyle's War" with a yawn. The "Inspector Lynley" series also ends this summer, but what a difference. This week's episode, the second-to-last (Sunday, 8 p.m., PBS), is almost unbearably tense and tragic. >MorePhil Ball remembers the late Madison broadcaster Tedd O'Connell Phil Ball on Wednesday 08/06/2008 3:23 pm Recently deceased Comrade Tedd O'Connell was a revolutionary when the revolution was fueled by drugs, sex and rock n roll. His sphere of operations stretched from Mr. P's on Madison's southside to Hemingway's Bodega del Media in Havana. >MoreTo kill or not to kill? Dean Robbins on Friday 08/01/2008 The line between good and bad cop shows is often thin. At first glance, Flashpoint (Friday, 9 p.m., CBS) seems like a standard entry in the genre: The members of a Strategic Response Unit deal with conflicts at home while handling hostage situations at work. But this series is a cut above. >MoreReality TV invades Madison with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and High School Musical Kristian Knutsen on Friday 07/25/2008 12:06 pm, (1) Comment It's been three decades since Lee Sherman Dreyfus declared that Madison was 30 square miles surrounded by reality. This number in the slogan has grown since along with the city, climbing to somewhere in the neighborhood of four score on land plus a few more on water. Whatever the exact figure may be until the city's next growth spurt, reality looks to be encroaching on this little sanctuary through our televisions. >MoreIt's all in the mind Dean Robbins on Friday 07/25/2008 South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone have combined last fall's "Imaginationland" episodes into an animated feature film filled out with new material. Seen as a whole, "South Park Imaginationland" (Sunday, 9 p.m., Comedy Central) emerges as a work of cracked grandeur - a work of genius. >MoreMy girlfriend's boyfriends Dean Robbins on Friday 07/18/2008
Date My Ex: Jo & Slade (Monday, 9 p.m., Bravo) has a wafer-thin premise: Jo De La Rosa from The Real Housewives of Orange County is set up on dates by her ex-fiancé, Slade Smiley. As in any other dull dating series, guys go out with Jo and get eliminated one by one. But the producers seem to think that the ex-fiancé angle adds limitless drama and intrigue. Everyone has been told to play up the "weirdness" of the scenario, despite the fact that it was obviously cooked up by Jo, Slade (now her manager), Bravo executives and all their lawyers in some Hollywood office.