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Tune In Tonight: CNBC doesn’t stand out with ‘Crowd Rules’
May 14, 2013
Call me confused. I’m frequently stumped when a cable network deviates from its original purpose to pursue generic reality shows, readily available elsewhere. The newest CNBC offering is “Crowd Rules” (8 p.m.) a show so unabashedly unoriginal, it just might work. Imagine the set from “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” the music from “The Apprentice” and the general thrust of “Shark Tank” and you’re getting close.
Tune In Tonight: ‘Nature’ brings us back to doe
May 8, 2013
According to poll figures I just made up, 73 percent of homeowners are obsessed about keeping squirrels out of their bird feeders and keeping deer from eating their vegetables, flowers and shrubs. Tonight’s “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS) will shed no light on the eternal battle between man and squirrel, but “The Private Life of Deer” is illuminating.
Tune In Tonight: ABC offers ‘new’ Britcom import
May 1, 2013
The television season may be nearing its end, but new “midseason” replacements keep arriving. ABC presents “Family Tools” (7:30 p.m.), a contrived fish-out-of-water tale about a hapless adult son, Jack (Kyle Bornheimer), forced to take over his family’s home improvement business after his father, Tony (J.K. Simmons, “The Closer”), has a heart attack. The good news is that this is not a “Home Improvement” knockoff. The bad news is that the good news stops there.
Tune In Tonight: Can ‘Nashville’ find an audience in time?
April 24, 2013
Despite being the best, or at least the best-reviewed, new show of the season, “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC) has seen its ratings steadily decline since midseason. Nothing kills a soapy melodrama like asking viewers to return in three weeks to see what happens next, followed by another two-week hiatus.
Tune In Tonight: ‘Nature’ finds ‘eels’ beyond our grasp
April 17, 2013
Hard science takes a backseat to poetic meditation on the known and unknowable on the “Nature” (7 p.m., PBS) presentation of “The Mystery of Eels.” The documentary is narrated by artist and author James Prosek (”Trout: An Illustrated History”), whose fascination with eels grew after visiting Ray Turner, the proprietor of Delaware Delicacies near Hancock, N.Y.
Tune In Tonight: Does the domestic drama of ‘The Americans’ defy belief?
April 10, 2013
When it comes to spy thrillers, there’s no place like home. Now entering the home stretch of an impressive first season, “The Americans” (9 p.m., FX) is the latest show to re-emphasize that old adage from “The Wizard of Oz.”
Tune In Tonight: Get ready to skip ‘Ready for Love’
April 9, 2013
Featuring “the world’s greatest matchmakers” and semi-celebrities looking for the “perfect” match, the new dating spectacular “Ready for Love” (8 p.m., NBC) isn’t interesting enough to ridicule with much enthusiasm. It seems to exist only to give viewers of “Splash” (7 p.m., ABC) a feeling of superiority. Tonight’s lucky bachelor is music star Tim Lopez of the Plain White T’s.
Tune In Tonight: ‘American Masters’ profiles Philip Roth and his novels
March 29, 2013
Reading is fascinating; writing is boring. The act of sitting before a desk and a blank piece of paper or a typewriter or a laptop is about as solitary and unexciting as it gets. But that fact is what makes the “American Masters” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) presentation of “Philip Roth Unmasked” so remarkable.
Tune In Tonight: Science channel explains wormholes and ‘God particle’
March 20, 2013
Last week saw the announcement of a new pope and the discovery of what scientists call “the God particle.” These two events have nothing to do with each other, except that, together, they sound like plot developments in a pulpy Dan Brown conspiracy thriller.
Tune In Tonight: ‘Neighbors’ musical episode defies logic and humor
March 13, 2013
The musical episode: a sign of confidence or the kiss of death? It’s not like “The Neighbors” (7:30 p.m., ABC) wasn’t already a tad over-the-top. A tale of two New Yorkers, Marty and Debbie Weaver (Lenny Venito and Jami Gertz), who are stranded in a sterile New Jersey subdivision populated by aliens trying to pass themselves off as hyper-”normal” Americans. The visitors have even adapted names from the sports pages — Larry Bird (Simon Templeman) and Jackie Joyner-Kersee (Toks Olagundoye).
Tune In Tonight: Supernatural stuff and other delusions
March 6, 2013
Can possessions be possessed? Just last week, news stories spread about a segment on Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club,” as he advised a young woman to pray over her recent thrift store purchases “to rebuke any spirits that happened to have attached themselves to those clothes.”
Tune In Tonight: Nashville talent visits ‘Nashville’
February 27, 2013
A surprise party draws an A-list crowd on “Nashville” (9 p.m., ABC), including music stars Dan Auerbach (the Black Keys), Vince Gill, Pam Tillis, Kip Moore and Kate York.
Tune In Tonight: New cop drama ‘Golden Boy’ cliched in some parts, but worth a shot
February 26, 2013
“Golden Boy” (10 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) becomes the latest television drama set in the New York Police Department. After airing tonight and March 5 in the “Vegas” slot, it will move to Fridays on March 8, right before “Blue Bloods,” taking the place of “CSI: NY.” Too bad we can’t collect a pension from just watching all of these NYC cop shows.
Tune In Tonight: Shaquille mixes basketball and comedy
February 21, 2013
“Upload With Shaquille O’Neal” (9:30 p.m., Tru TV) becomes the latest series to showcase video clips from the Internet. Along the way, it shows that the former NBA star is about as good at being funny as a comedian might be at playing basketball.
Tune In Tonight: Oscar broadcast most often a one-time deal
February 20, 2013
Got Oscar fever? Didn’t think so. Katie Couric hosts the “20/20” ‘‘news” special “Mad About Oscar” (9 p.m., ABC). This isn’t so much about the chances of “Argo” or “Lincoln” walking away with Best Picture, but clips from past Oscar ceremonies, including memorable winners, inadvertently amusing speeches and unscripted moments.