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Entertainment: Discussions and News about Entertainment

I'll Chalk It Up to Zombie Habit-Viewing

Mar 5, 2013 2:14 PM PT

In response to The mysterious appeal of "The Walking Dead":

I was talking about this with a friend.  The concept of "habit-viewing" seems pretty widespread.  People freely admit they take no more pleasure in certain shows, but merely watch them out of ingrained habit.  The Office has been habit-viewing for a while, and 30 Rock for four seasons.  People still cite and link Saturday Night Live as if it's both compass and lodestar of public opinion, when in fact it hasn't really been any sort of genuine tastemaking influence since the Bush-Gore election.  And of course it's not funny.

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The mysterious appeal of "The Walking Dead"

Mar 5, 2013 1:42 PM PT

I see that Christian Toto offers a well-deserved salute to Daryl, the redneck messiah of The Walking Dead, on the Big Hollywood front page.  The runaway success of this show will give culture critics plenty to chew on for another few seasons.  (How successful is it?  The Walking Dead is so huge that it's followed by a talk show designed to discuss the episode aired moments ago... and that show is beating network offerings in the ratings.)

The interesting thing about The Walking Dead is that many of its fans also hate it.  It's picked apart mercilessly on forums, especially when the characters behave incomprehensibly, which occurs at least once per episode.  But maybe that's also part of the appeal - the fascination of the flawed gem.  Fans of a few top-shelf programs like The Wire or Breaking Bad are known to claim those shows are nearly perfect in every respect, but most of recent television's monster hits and cult obsessions have included comical absurdities or predictable repetition, all the way back to the cult show that flopped, rose from the dead, and became a billion-dollar empire, Star Trek.  We rib these shows even though we love them, but maybe we also love them because they're so ribbable, and that make them entertaining.

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TV Pilots Going to the Net, Not the Networks

Mar 5, 2013 5:47 AM PT

According the NYT, there is a shift away from network-based television programming in favor of internet-based outlets.  The internet is "the new front in the war for Americans’ attention spans." 

The companies are, in effect, creating new networks for television through broadband pipes and also giving rise to new rivalries — among one another, as between Amazon and Netflix, and with the big but vulnerable broadcast networks as well.

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Klavan Defends Seth MacFarlane's 'Boobs'

Mar 4, 2013 6:21 AM PT

Last week I wrote a defense of Seth McFarlane's Sunday night performance as Oscar host. Because he's smarter than I am,  my pal Andrew Klavan took that a step further picking up on something I hadn't even thought of: that MacFarlane's "We Saw Your Boobs" song is kinda conservative:

Criticize the song??? The right should’ve posted the bloody song on every website we have! We should have said: Hey, ladies, if it makes you feel bad when someone publicly talks about what you publicly do — guess what? Don’t do it! Do something else instead! Maybe treat your bodies with dignity and respect — the way you’ll want your daughters to treat their bodies. The way men ought to treat them.

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10-Part Miniseries 'The Bible' Premiers March 3 on The History Channel

Feb 27, 2013 1:08 PM PT

For two decades now, The History Channel, A&E, Discovery, and Biography have all done a notable job of exploring the Bible, specifically the gospels, through various documentaries. Though challenging at times, I've never found them disrespectful or dismissive. For that reason, and the fact that Mark Burnett is the creator (not The Creator), I'm pumped over the History Channel's upcoming 10-part miniseries "The Bible."

Burnett, who's most famous for creating reality series such as "Survivor" and "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is one terrific storyteller. To craft a compelling narrative out of "reality' is a genuine skill, and he's been at the top of his game for two decades now. I can't think of anyone more qualified to take Genesis, Revelations, everything in-between, and turn it into a manageable storyline.

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Barbara Walters Returns to 'The View' Next Week

Feb 27, 2013 12:09 PM PT

Though she looks 15 years younger, when any 83 year-old suffers a fall or any kind of illness, it's always cause for concern. It's been over a month since Barbara Walters last made a public appearance, and over a week since we've heard anything about her condition. So it's quite a relief to know Walters will be back to work at "The View" next week.

After more than a month sidelined with chicken pox, Barbara Walters will return to her hit ABC daytime show, “The View,” starting next week.

Ms. Walters made the announcement herself during a phone call to “The View” Tuesday morning from her Manhattan apartment.

“Like it or not, I’m coming back on the show again,” Ms. Walters said.

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'CleanFlix': Documentary Proof H'wood Determined to Pollute Culture with Violence

Feb 27, 2013 10:20 AM PT

Today's story in The Wrap about Hollywood and the MPAA expressing concern about film violence is a steaming pile of doodoo. For proof, I give you the documentary "Cleanflix," which is currently streaming at Netflix.

A few years ago, a group of Salt Lake City Mormons got together to open a chain of video stores offering mainstream Hollywood movies, but ones that edited out foul language, sex, and extreme violence. Mormons are not allowed to see R-rated films, so the idea was to make forbidden films available to thousands.

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