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TV Review: Amazing Ensemble Drives Success of ‘Boardwalk Empire’

CHICAGOHBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” found a narrative urgency and a deep sense of poetic melancholy in 2012’s season three, the best of the program’s run to date.

Blu-ray Review: Robust Set For Third Season of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’

The Walking Dead S3

CHICAGO – Brutal. That’s the word for the third season of “The Walking Dead.” It’s just brutal. Like the second season of the mega-hit show, the third sagged a bit in the middle (although not as deeply as the neverending Shane-Dale debates of chapter 2) and the finale was a bit disappointing, but the unpredictability of the season kept viewers on their toes and ratings high.

TV Review: FXX Launches with ‘The League,’ ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

CHICAGO – If you were watching Fox Soccer Channel this weekend, you may have been startled to see it switch to repeats of hit comedy shows instead of sports commentary. The network is no more, replaced by FXX, a new brand of the hit FX network designed to appeal to a younger, comedy-driven audience. FX will keep shows like “The Bridge,” “Justified,” and next week’s premiere of “Sons of Anarchy.”

DVD Review: Frustrating Fourth Season of ‘Community’

Community S4

CHICAGO – The fourth season of NBC’s “Community” was its most controversial by some margin. The program was barely renewed, its showrunner (Dan Harmon) was unprofessionally fired, and the on-set feuds with co-star Chevy Chase continued. To start the fifth season, Chase is gone and Harmon is back. No one has made out well in the court of public opinion and the fourth season was sometimes unwatchable. You would never know any of this from the recently-released DVD set.

DVD Review: Final Season of TNT’s Brilliant ‘Southland’

Southland

CHICAGO – I don’t believe it’s gone. TNT’s “Southland” shouldn’t be over. Not only do I not believe that the writers and producers meant for the dark finale of the fifth season, recently released on DVD, to be the close of this brilliant series, but I know they had more stories to tell. Considering the show was once canceled by NBC and rescued from its near-death experience, I suppose we should be happy with got five years but it’s still bittersweet.

DVD Review: Frustrating USA Mini-Series ‘Political Animals’

Political Animals

CHICAGOUSA’s mini-series “Political Animals” should have been one of the TV events of 2012. Instead it was just one of its biggest disappointments. That cast! That subject! In a political, election season! Zzzzzzz. Sadly, the creators of “Political Animals” delivered a program more like “Dallas” than “The West Wing” and viewers tuned out to the degree that the potential second season was canned. Now we can see what went wrong in one lackluster DVD set.

TV Review: Larry David’s ‘Clear History’ Appeases Fans of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

CHICAGO – There hasn’t been a new episode of Larry David’s brilliant comedy, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” in almost two years and the creator of the HBO program has yet to commit to ever doing a ninth season, saying recently to TV Guide to ask him again in six months.

TV Review: The CW Hits Reality TV Bottom with ‘Capture’

CHICAGO – “Get me a TV version of The Hunger Games! This is The CW! If it’s popular with young adults, we need a TV show like it!”

“Sir, have you SEEN The Hunger Games? It’s about killing people.”

TV Review: AMC Begins Final Arc of Beloved ‘Breaking Bad’

CHICAGO – Walter White is back. Those four words mean more to loyal fans of “Breaking Bad” than any other this Summer.

TV Feature: The 11 Biggest Emmy Snubs of 2013

CHICAGO – The 2013 Emmy nominations were announced this morning, leading to the natural hand-wringing and chest-beating over who missed the cut. Before we get to the most egregious snubs of the year, a few places where the Academy unexpectedly, happily got it right:

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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