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Thursday, August 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 65.0° F  Fair

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The 2014 Emmys prove it: We're in a golden age of TV

I was going to start talking about the overrated shows nominated for this year's Emmy Awards, as I don't understand why critics have fallen for Masters of Sex, Homeland and Boardwalk Empire. But I got sidetracked by the much bigger list of nominated shows that are among the wonders of the world. >More
 An unstable undercover agent creates multiple personalities in Legends

Martin Odum (Sean Bean) is a CIA agent who transforms himself into a different person for each undercover job. For example, he goes to great lengths to style himself as a creepy outsider to infiltrate a domestic terrorist group, masking his British accent with a stutter. Legends keeps you on the edge of your seat as Martin tries not to blow his cover under tremendous pressure. >More
 A brash outsider crashes the high-society South in Jersey Belle

At first glance, Jersey Belle comes on like one of those housewife reality series everyone loves to hate. Jaime is a brash Jersey girl with an Italian/Jewish heritage who follows her husband to a high-society suburb in Alabama. You brace yourself for the usual inanities, but Jaime proves an unusually interesting subject. >More
 #RichKids of Beverly Hills gives us entrée to a luxurious lifestyle

In the reality series #RichKids of Beverly Hills, the rich kids aren't icky in that Kardashian way. They're smart and self-aware, even self-mocking at times. As a result, you don't laugh at them, but with them. >More
 R.I.P. Hercule Poirot: The detective must solve his own murder in Masterpiece Mystery!

Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) returns to Masterpiece Mystery! with his waxed mustache, three-piece suit and formal manner -- so formal that he even refers to himself in the third person. >More
 A wife orders her spouse to fool around in FX's Married

Finally, after a summer's worth of awful new sitcoms, I'm laughing again. In Married, Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina (Judy Greer) are a once-happy couple weighed down by three kids. Russ is frustrated by their nonexistent sex life, and Lina is frustrated by everything else. >More
 Vince O'Hern starts a newspaper, creates a family

When I moved to Madison in the 1980s, it was a hot spot for alternative weekly newspapers. Myself, I liked the one with the funny name -- Isthmus -- but there were plenty of other choices, like City Lights and Free for All. Who would have predicted that the one with the funny name would survive them all and prosper into the 21st century? >More
 A virus creates vampires in Guillermo del Toro's exciting thriller The Strain

Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth) co-wrote and directed the first episode of The Strain, a stylish thriller about a virus with vampiric origins. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), head of a Centers for Disease Control unit in New York City, is called in to investigate the mysterious deaths of 200 airline passengers. >More
 A teenager prefers her abductor to her real family in Finding Carter

In the opening scene of Finding Carter, 16-year-old Carter (Kathryn Prescott) shares a tender moment with her mother over frozen yogurt, then heads off to party with her friends. A bit of low-level recklessness lands them briefly in jail, but the authorities don't release Carter along with the others. >More
 Lusty lawyers strip to their briefs in Reckless

With Reckless, CBS tries to create a sexy summer series -- and succeeds. Jamie (Anna Wood), a gorgeous Yankee lawyer in Charleston, S.C., is introduced stiletto heels first, the camera practically drooling as it pans up to her tight miniskirt. You might think that's offensive, and maybe it is. >More
 Isthmus Jazz Festival 2014 busts boundaries on opening night

I walked out to the Union Terrace at sunset for an entirely different sort of musical pleasure. The Darren Sterud Orchestra played a set of punchy big-band jazz, heavy on Thad Jones. >More
 In Freedom Summer, Mississippi greets '60s activists with machine guns and nooses

Once upon a time, the state of Mississippi used intimidation, violence and corrupt laws to keep African Americans from voting. In 1964, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had the idea of asking a thousand mostly white students from around the country to spend the summer in Mississippi, educating and registering black residents. >More
 Duke Ellington's love letter to the University of Wisconsin-Madison

In the early 1970s, the University of Wisconsin-Madison made an extraordinary gesture for the time. It granted jazz composer Duke Ellington an honorary doctorate and mounted a weeklong festival of his music. It even gave Duke and the members of his orchestra the rare opportunity to conduct master classes. >More
 Pregnancy adds a twist to the detective series Rizzoli & Isles

The season premiere of Rizzoli & Isles proves why it's one of cable's most popular series. Boston detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) has instant rapport with medical examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander). As opposite types -- Rizzoli rough and rude, Isles posh and pedantic -- they tease each other mercilessly. >More
 ACLU and plaintiff couples celebrate the end of Wisconsin's same-sex marriage ban at the Capitol

Word spread on Friday afternoon that U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb had ruled Wisconsin's ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. And in Madison, that could mean only one thing: party at the Capitol! >More
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