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TV Review: HBO’s ‘True Blood’ Has Lost Its Pulse

CHICAGO – Does anyone else remember when “True Blood” was fun? When it was about a special girl falling for a brooding vamp and not ALWAYS about the fate of the entire world? When it had a sense of humor, especially in characters like Jason & Lafayette?

TV Review: Star Power Drives TNT’s ‘King & Maxwell’

CHICAGOTNT’s “King & Maxwell” fits squarely in the TNT brand, shows built around the charisma of its stars. Whether it’s the popular gents at the center of “Franklin & Bash,” Kyra Sedgwick on “The Closer” or the likable pair who headline “Rizzoli & Isles,” the brand has worked (and didn’t exactly for ensemble shows like the now-canceled “Monday Mornings” and “Southland.”)

TV Review: The Rock Launches Bizarre Reality Show About ‘The Hero’

The Hero

CHICAGO – What makes a hero? Is it the guy who rappels off a skyscraper with ease or the woman who confronts her fears and climbs a dangerous staircase? Is it the winner or the team player? At its best, TNT’s new reality competition series, “The Hero,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, taps into these questions, but it so often does so in a manipulative, predictable, boring way that you might not want to stick around for the answers.

TV Review: USA Opens ‘Graceland,’ Begins Closure of ‘Burn Notice’

CHICAGOUSA and TNT have owned Summer television for the last several years with hits like “White Collar,” “Burn Notice,” “Royal Pains,” and “The Closer”.

TV Review: ABC’s ‘Mistresses’ Cheats on Good Television

CHICAGO – At its worst, ABC’s “Mistresses” feels like “Nicholas Sparks: The TV Series” with all the horrendous plotting and melodrama that implies. At its best, it feels like a “Desperate Housewives” knock-off, in which the charisma of its leading ladies get viewers past the writing flaws.

TV Review: AMC Resurrects ‘The Killing’ with Intriguing Results

CHICAGO – There are times when the third season premiere of AMC’s “The Killing” shows the signs of a program that was resurrected from the dead. The series was axed by AMC after a controversial end to the first season and disappointing second one.

TV Review: ‘Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic’ Stays on Surface

CHICAGO – A bit too much of “Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic,” premiering tonight, May 31, 2013, on Showtime, is devoted to adoration of its subject matter from his peers and friends, and not enough insight is offered into from where the true talent or serious demons of the man originated. Perhaps no one really knows.

Blu-ray Review: Lavish Season Set For HBO’s Beloved ‘True Blood’

True Blood S5

CHICAGO – I’ve talked to a number of people who think the fifth season of “True Blood” is when it jumped the bloodsucking shark, although there are certainly legions of fans of this HBO smash hit who will never give up on Sookie Stackhouse and her neverending parade of supernatural friends and foes. HBO Home Video knows how faithful viewers for a program like “True Blood” will become even more so with great home releases and so have turned the “True Blood” line into one of their absolute best. The latest, “True Blood: The Complete Fifth Season,” is no exception.

TV Review: Charming Desiree Hartsock Becomes ‘The Bachelorette’

CHICAGO – I always say that reality TV is dependent on casting above all else and this is no more truthful than in the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” franchises. Sure, the producers can do a lot in crafting narratives for their “stars” but if the lead isn’t someone we root for and his or her suitors aren’t equally entertaining, we’ll check out.

TV Review: A&E Mystery Series Return in ‘Longmire,’ ‘The Glades’

CHICAGO – A&E’s “Longmire,” returning tonight for its second season, can be a great show. It’s an underrated Western-mystery hybrid with a stellar lead performance from Robert Taylor and a heavy dose of “No Country For Old Men” atmosphere. “The Glades,” also returning tonight for its fourth season, is a more inconsistent program but has produced some solid episodes over its run.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Downward Dog

    CHICAGO – From “Mr. Ed” to “Dog with a Blog,” talking animals have had their place on TV. The latest has origins as a web series, with the clever title “Downward Dog.” The show premieres on Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 (9:30pEST/8:30pCST), on ABC TV, and features Ned the Dog as Martin, and human companions portrayed by Allison Tolman and Lucas Neff.

  • Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

    CHICAGO – When faced with adversity, the best way around it is to somehow break into song. That is the feeling behind the Brown Paper Box Co.’s “Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret,” running April 7th and 8th at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. The event features company member Kristi Szczepanek as host, and presents song stylings by other company members, including Anna Schutz, plus some special guests. For details and ticket information, click here.

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