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Television

Tune In Tonight: Cable’s TBS struggles to stay fresh
April 16, 2013
In the years since the cable channel TBS rebranded itself as a comedy outfit, we’ve seen some great innovations in comedy. But not on TBS. While shows like “Louie” and “Modern Family” have brought some discerning viewers back to TV comedies, TBS has played it relatively straight, airing fairly old-school sitcoms including “The Bill Engvall Show” “My Boys,” “Men at Work” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.” Tonight, TBS dials it back decades with the newest variation on “Candid Camera.” “Who Gets the Last Laugh?” (9 p.m.) asks three professional comedians to devise hidden camera pranks to scare and surprise unsuspecting strangers. At the end, a studio audience, aided by host Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), will decide the funniest of the three and award $10,000 to that comic’s favorite charity.
Tune In Tonight: “Defiance” to bring gamer action to TV
April 15, 2013
“Defiance” (8 p.m., Syfy) offers an entertaining twist on the post-apocalyptic thriller. Set in the year 2046, “Defiance” explores the Earth more than 30 years after an alien invasion sparked a violent global war for domination, and 15 years after a treaty established an uneasy truce between battling races of humans, aliens, cyborgs and mutants.
Look familiar? After many TV roles, Lawrence native lands lead in TV series
April 14, 2013
“Modern Family.” “Bones.” “The Mentalist.” These are three of the most popular shows on TV today, and Lawrence native and actress Annie Tedesco has appeared in all of them. Now she’s landed the lead role in the new TV series “Granite Flats.” By Sara Shepherd
Tune In Tonight: Nostalgia the focus of “The 80’s”
April 14, 2013
Rob Lowe narrates “The 80s: The Decade That Made Us” (8 p.m. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, National Geographic), a six-part flashback to a formative period. The commentary surrounding the recent death of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reminds us of some of the stark choices of the period, a time when leaders in both the United Kingdom and the United States began to enthusiastically extol the virtues of market forces and downplay or demonize the more distributive government actions of previous decades.
Tune In Tonight: Bets placed on babies in new show
April 13, 2013
We share an impulse to find joy in infant behavior. But taken to extremes, such pleasures can become infantile. That, in a nutshell, is both the appeal and the pitfall of the new game show “Bet On Your Baby” (7 p.m. Saturday, ABC). Like the old “Newlywed Game,” where the recently hitched won money and prizes based on correct answers to slightly naughty questions about their spouses, “Bet” asks proud parents to wager on the behavior of their barely toddling children. Can junior be coerced into spinning in a circle seven times in 20 seconds? Are you willing to lose money if he doesn’t?
Trading barbs with Bill Maher
Comedian bringing his liberal sense of humor to Topeka
April 11, 2013
For a comedian like Bill Maher, our fair — red — state has provided plenty of fodder over the years, some of which may work its way into his stand-up routine Saturday night at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. By Sara Shepherd
Tune In Tonight: Sitcom stars gather for ‘Parents’
April 3, 2013
Stars of sitcoms past appear in something new that feels very old. “How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)” (8:30 p.m., ABC) stars Sarah Chalke (“Roseanne,” “Scrubs”) as Polly, a sensible wife and mother who abandons her goofy, irresponsible husband, Julian (Jon Dore), to move back with her middle-aged but free-spirited parents, Max and Elaine (Brad Garrett, “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and Elizabeth Perkins, “Weeds”).
Tune In Tonight: ‘Detectives’ makes way out West
April 2, 2013
“History Detectives” (7 p.m., PBS, check local listings) returns with a Western theme. After buying a Kit Carson biography for cheap, Charles Burns discovers some papers hidden between the covers that could be linked to the frontiersman’s family. Another investigation explores some secrets behind the lyrics to the popular song “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” a 1930s cowboy number composed by Bob Nolan popularized by The Sons of the Pioneers in 1946 and reintroduced to listeners in 1998 as part of the soundtrack to “The Big Lebowski.”
Tune In Tonight: Melodrama in ‘Selfridge’ a tough sell
March 31, 2013
A new variation of “Upstairs Downstairs” set in a department store, the “Masterpiece Classic” presentation of “Mr. Selfridge” (8 p.m. Sunday, PBS, check local listings) is scripted by Andrew Davies (“Bleak House”) and features the first starring role for Jeremy Piven since his Emmy-winning turn in “Entourage.”
Tune In Tonight: ‘Orphan’ a complicated new drama
March 30, 2013
“That’s you, all over!” could be the tagline for the new head-scratcher “Orphan Black” (8 p.m. Saturday, BBC America). Part of a lineup of supernatural fare, including a new episode of “Doctor Who” (7 p.m. Saturday, BBC America), “Black” asks a lot of star Tatiana Maslany.
Tune In Tonight: Shows end for now, at least
March 27, 2013
The alien antics conclude on the season finale of “The Neighbors” (7:30 p.m., ABC). Having recently attended a Broadway show, the gang takes the next logical step for ultimate tourists: a trip to Atlantic City. Frivolity comes to an abrupt end when they receive a call from their home planet.
Tune In Tonight: Take a hop down the bunny trail
March 26, 2013
The CW, a network geared to viewers barely out of kindergarten at the turn of the century, reaches back more than 40 years to broadcast “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” (7 p.m.). This animated special, produced by Rankin-Bass (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), features the voices of Danny Kaye, Casey Kasem and Vincent Price.
Tune In Tonight: Go mad with full day of basketball
March 21, 2013
An annual tradition on CBS for decades, the 2013 NCAA Basketball Tournament (11 a.m.), or “March Madness,” begins today in earnest. In addition to CBS, games will also be airing throughout the day on TBS, TNT and Tru TV.
Tune In Tonight: Diving show ‘Splash’ just another flop
March 19, 2013
The old phrase, “Imitation is the sincerest form of television,” has never seemed so timely. Coined by radio star Fred Allen, it perfectly sums up the essence of “Splash” (7 p.m., ABC), a brand-new series that seems anything but.
Tune In Tonight: Two new series aim to thrill viewers
March 18, 2013
Ready for a “Psycho” prequel? The new series “Bates Motel” (9 p.m., A&E) aims to explain the devolution of Norman Bates (Freddie Highmore) from teenager to serial killer. As in most psychological queries, we begin with the mother.