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Friday, October 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Daily


Home for the holiday

As much as I'd like to go out on New Year's Eve, I feel obligated to stay home watching TV as a service to you, the reader. (I also have nothing better to do.) Luckily, the night is filled with wonders, offering something for everyone. Well, everything except human companionship. >More
 Elf everlasting

Elf (Saturday, 7 p.m., CBS) has been popping up on TV every Christmas. Does the movie deserve classic status, up there with Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life? It certainly takes a Capra-style approach, with a holy innocent from the sticks (à la Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington) humanizing a jaded city. >More
 Queens of spleen

I love beauty pageants for taking themselves so seriously. The straighter they play it, the more unintentionally funny they are. With a name like Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants (Wednesday, 8 p.m., CW), I was afraid that this mother-daughter reality series would wink at pageant camp. But folks, I'm thrilled to report that both the CW and the contestants are completely committed to hair helmets, tears, plastered-on smiles, earnest Q&A's and gender politics out of the 1950s. Let the derisive laughter begin. >More
 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
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