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Archive for Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Game show doesn’t live up to its name

September 5, 2007

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The MyNetwork offers a prime-time peek at the syndicated game show "Temptation" (7 p.m., MyNetwork). Hosted by the brash Rossi Morreale, it offers a low-octane mix of easy questions and home-shopping-style plugs for various products. During the course of the game, the questions stop and players will be asked to spend some of their winnings on a product. They may get to buy $1,000 worth of makeup for only $11, but we have to pay by sitting through endless promotions. And, of course, there are commercials on top of that. In many ways, this offers the worst of two worlds. Game-show fans will be annoyed by the interruptions, and shopping addicts can just mainline on QVC. For viewers with a brain, the real "Temptation" is to change the channel.

Over the course of its season, "Temptation" will feature three blasts from the "American Idol" recent past, including contestants Justin Guarini, Kimberly Caldwell and Mikalah Gordon. While not blessed with great musical talent, Gordon seemed destined for some corner of show business. And here it is.

¢ In the harrowing documentary "Children of God: Lost and Found" (6 p.m., Cinemax), first-time filmmaker Noah Thompson recalls his upbringing in a religious cult founded by the late David Berg. In addition to communal living, the group, called The Children of God, insisted on group child-rearing and group sex among everyone, including children and even toddlers.

Disenchanted members like Thompson have come to see the group as sick and Berg as nothing more than a disturbed pedophile. Thompson and his brothers escape the group, but their mother remains behind, heard only in painful telephone calls.

Thompson goes about showing how he and his brothers have survived despite their emotional scars and lack of education. He contacts other group members who are not as well-adjusted, including one who was the special favorite of Berg.

Made over the course of several years, the film is raw and uneven, but in a manner appropriate to its maker and grim subject. About halfway through the film, Thompson and friends embark on a car trip from Texas to Brazil to contact other former cult members and some still with the group. This trip and travelogue alone would make for an interesting documentary. But Thompson has other things on his mind.

¢ Linus and his Great Pumpkin obsession has nothing on "Lords of the Gourd: The Pursuit of Excellence" (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings). "Extreme" gardeners show just what it takes to grow pumpkins of truly titanic proportions for the Pumpkinfest Weigh-in located in Cooperstown, N.Y. Just getting these super squash onto the back of a pickup truck is a work of engineering and skill.

¢ The documentary "Taboo: Nudity" (9 p.m., National Geographic) looks at cultures around the world that incorporate nudity into religious rituals. For decades, subjects like this made generations of adolescent boys faithful readers of National Geographic magazine.

Tonight's other highlights

  • U.S. Open tennis coverage (6 p.m., USA).
  • An attempt at humor on "Last Comic Standing" (8 p.m., NBC).
  • The (dead) Man who Fell to Earth on "Bones" (8 p.m., Fox).
  • Former President Bill Clinton appears on "Larry King Live" (8 p.m., CNN).
  • The University of New Hampshire hosts a Presidential Forum (8 p.m., Fox News) for Republican candidates.
  • "Costas Now" (8 p.m., HBO) looks ahead to the NFL season.
  • Stella finds herself linked to a painful case on "CSI: NY" (9 p.m., CBS).

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