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Thursday, December 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 26.0° F  Light Snow
The Daily


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
 Revenge of the creatures

In Life Is Wild (Sunday, 7 p.m., CW), a New York veterinarian (Brett Cullen) moves his blended family to South Africa so he can fulfill his dream of healing every animal in the world. >More
 Night of the living dead

I'm always hoping for something different in the new TV season - something other than another cop, doctor or lawyer show. Well, be careful what you wish for.

 The devil gets his due

Funny, scary and poignant, Reaper (Tuesday, 8 p.m., CW) is the fall season's best new series. You must start watching it immediately so it gets good ratings and stays on the air. If you don't, I swear I will hunt you down and make your life a living hell. >More
 Setup, punchline

And here we thought the old-fashioned sitcom was dead. Back to You (Wednesday, 7 p.m., Fox) proves that the genre still has life in it, banishing painful thoughts of 'Til Death and George Lopez. >More
 Lies, guilt and punishment

The season premiere of Curb Your Enthusiasm (Sunday, 9 p.m., HBO) is another masterpiece of comic anxiety. Larry David, playing a version of himself - a sneaky L.A. showbiz type - wants to go to Ted Danson's party instead of a party at his friend Funkhauser's, happening the night before. So he hatches a seemingly ingenious plan to save face. He'll skip the first party, but show up at Funkhauser's house the next night and pretend that he mixed up the dates. He'll make his apologies and head off to Danson's party guilt-free. >More
 All Tori, all the time

Fading celebrities often try to revive their careers by allowing reality-show cameras into their lives. It's always a shameless spectacle, but Tori & Dean: Inn Love (Tuesday, 9 p.m., Oxygen) is more shameless than most. >More
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