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Saturday, January 31, 2015 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Overcast
The Daily


The Newsroom just got good

I hated the first season of The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's attempt to create a smart, fast-talking show about cable news. Sorkin's journalism setting didn't feel authentic, as his White House setting did in The West Wing. And Jeff Daniels made for a smug, unlikable hero as the anchor Will McAvoy. >More
 Dexter meets the woman who made him a killer

In episode two of Dexter's nail-biting final season, our psychopathic hero (Michael C. Hall) makes a troubling discovery about his past. A renowned expert on psychopaths, Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), reveals that she's the one who worked behind the scenes to help him focus his homicidal urges as a young boy. Due to her efforts, she says, he learned to kill "only those who deserved to die." >More
 Anna Nicole shows surprising compassion for scandalous model Anna Nicole Smith

The TV movie Anna Nicole imputes a soul to the late Anna Nicole Smith, the model and gold digger who flaunted her self-destruction in the media. Anyone who remembers the barely sentient Anna Nicole will have a hard time buying that proposition. And yet the movie works hard for our sympathy and finally wins it. >More
 Under the Dome seals off a town from the world

CBS's new series Under the Dome is premised on a beautifully simple "what if" scenario: What if an invisible dome descended on a small town, cutting it off from the outside world? In this Stephen King adaptation, the residents of Chester's Mill are in the midst of a normal day when the dome drops -- a spectacular special effect involving fire, earthquakes and debris. >More
 All hell breaks loose in the sixth season of True Blood

True Blood, the modern-day vampire series, begins its sixth season in ghastly fashion. Bill (Stephen Moyer) dies, then returns to life as something else -- something bloody and horrible. He emerges from a burning building and shoots into the sky "like a naked evil Superman," according to the fleeing Jason (Ryan Kwanten). >More
 In the Flesh extends sympathy toward the undead

The British miniseries In the Flesh takes its place with the greatest zombie movies of all time. Like 1968's Night of the Living Dead, the granddaddy of the genre, it's both a gross-out horror story and a grim satire. In this case, the object of satire is England's bumbling public health bureaucracy. >More
 The Fosters offers an alternative vision of a TV family

Social conservatives will not be happy with ABC Family's new series The Fosters, which lays down a challenge to the Ozzie and Harriet paradigm. The rest of us will appreciate it as a reflection of modern-day reality, featuring characters familiar from our own lives. >More
 The real Liberace: Behind the Candelabra portrays the showman as a monster

In Behind the Candelabra, HBO assembles high-quality artists to tell the story of a low-quality one: the glitzy piano player Liberace. Steven Soderbergh directs, Michael Douglas camps it up as the inexplicably popular musician, and Matt Damon throws himself into the role of Scott, Liberace's boy toy from the 1970s and '80s. >More
 The Goodwin Games pits family members against each other

In Fox's promising sitcom The Goodwin Games, three estranged siblings reunite after their father (Beau Bridges) dies, only to learn that he has set up a series of competitions to determine which one of them will win his fortune. This questionable approach to an inheritance echoes his questionable approach to childrearing. >More
 Christopher Guest brings his patented style to HBO's Family Tree

Christopher Guest earned a place in my pantheon by pioneering the mockumentary with his script for 1984's This Is Spinal Tap. Since then, as a writer-director, he's perfected the style in one big-screen gem after another: Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind. His approach has been imitated on TV by the likes of The Office and Parks and Recreation. >More
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