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Tuesday, September 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 45.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


Holiday spirits

You can immediately tell that Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day (Sunday, 8 p.m., ABC) is a meaningful movie. For starters, the title name-checks not one, but two very important people. During the opening credits, a piano tinkles in a minor key, and a violin saws with mournful regret. I settled in to be deeply moved. >More
 Mr. Warmth: Racist or genius?

on Rickles is a comic institution who requires discussion. Is his act hilarious or racist? Or both? >More
 Let's get serious

I always thought Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica was a downer. It shot for "solemn" and ended up just depressing and dull. But a two-hour special episode called Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Saturday, 8 p.m.) has won me over. It is solemn, in the best way: a tale of warriors enduring the onslaught of an evil enemy. >More
 Five to watch: Local TV does have a few bright stars

 Revenge of the creatures

I love my poodle, don't eat meat and support animal rights. But I admit to feeling uneasy during I Am an Animal (Monday, 7 p.m., HBO), a portrait of Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. >More
 Christianity in the classroom

In the rural town of Dover, Penn., teachers made the mistake of teaching science in science class. The good Christians on the Dover school board wondered why the teachers were allowed to explain Charles Darwin's theory of evolution without nodding to the book of Genesis. In 2004, the board voted to require Christianity in science class, cleverly disguised as the pseudo-science of "intelligent design." Concerned parents sprang into action, bringing a lawsuit against the board. Good Christians sprang into action too: They sent death threats to the concerned parents. >More
 I don't get it

I love the crude animated series South Park and The Simpsons. So why do I hate the crude animated series Family Guy (Sunday, 8 p.m., Fox)? I watched the special 100th episode to compare and contrast. Yes, all three series satirize American family values. But South Park and The Simpsons do so with wit. Here's the best punchline Family Guy can come up with: "This is a bigger waste of time than Ringo's songwriting!" >More
 You're a strange man, Charles Schulz

Along with the work of Louis Armstrong and Mark Twain, Peanuts is one of the United States' most original products. Charles Schulz's comic strip is at once simple and profound, melancholy and hilarious, and its pleasures are equally available to children and adults. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus and Lucy are among the most vivid characters in our literature, and Schulz continued to discover truths about them - and about life on planet earth - for 50 years, until he died in 2000. >More
 A risky gamble

In Viva Laughlin (Sunday, 7 p.m., CBS), Ripley (Lloyd Owen) is a smooth-talker who's building a casino in Laughlin, Nev. He's got perfect hair and sky-high dreams, but he's dealt a bad hand when his partner turns up murdered. (Brace yourself for gambling metaphors -- I'm just getting warmed up.) >More
 A whole new me

Samantha (Christina Applegate) awakens from a coma with amnesia. Her parents sit with her in the hospital room, but they're not much comfort. Her self-absorbed mother videotapes herself enacting "grief" with an eye to a guest slot on Extreme Makeover. When her distant father realizes that Samantha doesn't recognize him, he hands her his business card. Samantha Who? (Monday, 8:30 p.m., ABC) is a very good comedy about very bad people. >More
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