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Monday, December 22, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 35.0° F  Light Rain Fog/Mist
The Daily

TELEVISION

To kill or not to kill?

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. >More
 Reality TV invades Madison with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and High School Musical

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. >More
 It's all in the mind

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. >More
 My girlfriend's boyfriends

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.

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 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
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