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Saturday, November 29, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily

TELEVISION

Picture This! Cinderella at the mall

In Picture This! (Sunday, 7 p.m., ABC Family), Mandy (Ashley Tisdale) is a self-proclaimed "crusty nobody" in her high school. The mean girls torment her, the gorgeous guy on campus doesn't know she exists, and her dad won't buy her the expensive video phone that all the cool kids have. If she was only beautiful and had the right merchandise, Mandy could make the gorgeous guy notice her and live happily ever after. >More
 Secret Diary of a Call Girl

Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Monday, 9:30 p.m., Showtime) is based on the blog of a high-priced London prostitute. Billie Piper plays Hannah, a proper girl by day and call girl by night. It sounds like a familiar scenario, but a team of female writers bring a fresh perspective to the material. They get inside Hannah's head and create a credible portrait of a smart, strong woman in a strange situation. >More
 Man vs. machine

I hope The Factory (Sunday, 9 p.m., Spike) doesn't get overlooked in the middle of the cable dial. It's a working-class answer to The Office, featuring four regular Joes who run the machines in a dreary factory. They banter in the break room, hash out their marital problems and attend the occasional wake for a coworker ground up in the gears >More
 Two dads and a dud

Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days (Tuesday, 9 p.m., FX) invites participants to immerse themselves in a world very different from their own. It's a daring social experiment that delves into topical issues, sometimes with painful results >More
 Ironic and supersonic

The Middleman (Monday, 7 p.m., ABC Family) is the most delightful pop-culture product since Juno. Heroine Wendy Watson (Natalie Morales) is Juno's equal as a deadpan hipster smart aleck. But she has one talent Juno doesn't: a knack for saving the world from machine-gun-toting apes. >More
 Swingtown: Sex in the '70s

Swingtown (Thursday, 9 p.m., CBS) is CBS's attempt to sink to the depths of depravity. >More
 Tough cookie

In Plain Sight (Sunday, 9 p.m., USA) introduces us to a new kind of TV heroine. Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) is a tough U.S. marshal who helps relocate people in the witness-protection program. It's a bitch of a job that requires a bitch of a personality. Mary has to handle both the witnesses (often nasty criminals) and the folks who want them dead, and that puts her in a perpetual bad mood. All day long she throws out insults and punches, using sarcasm to keep her sanity. >More
 Bush vs.Gore vs. democracy

Recount (Sunday, 8 p.m., HBO) is an absurd political fantasy about a U.S. presidential election gone wrong. It all comes down to Florida, where the voting apparatus gets weirdly screwed up. Networks call the election one way, then reverse themselves; the Democratic candidate concedes, then retracts his concession. All hell breaks loose, with mass protests, death threats and dirty tricks. The conservative members of the Supreme Court finally hand the election to their fellow Republican in a decision worthy of a banana republic. >More
 American Idol: Wasting your vote

We began the American Idol journey in January full of hope. The singing competition promised that this would be the year of deep talent - no silly Sanjayas in the final 12. At first blush, most of the contestants did look solid. But it soon became clear that they weren't much more than that. None of them could make your hair stand on end, à la Fantasia Barrino. So each week you'd vote for your favorites with an uneasy sense of their limitations. >More
 The better to eat you with

Survivor took a turn for the macabre at the end of April. The women banded together against the men in what they gleefully called "the Black Widow Brigade." Suddenly, the series didn't seem like a harmless game anymore. The women were treating it like a bloody sacrificial rite, with murder in their eyes. >More
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