Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Masterpiece’s Lennon Naked: Make Gloom for Daddy

In Recaps on November 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

John and Yoko (Christopher Eccleston, Naoko Mori) of “Lennon Naked,” last night’s “Masterpiece” presentation. (Photographer unknown; courtesy PBS)

The cleverest moment in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – you remember, the one where the Enterprise crew travels back in time to 1986 to save the whales – comes when Mr. Spock questions profanity’s proliferation in late 20th century society.

“That’s just the way people talk around here,” Admiral Kirk explains. “You’ll find it in all the literature of the period … the complete works of Jacqueline Susann, the novels of Harold Robbins.”

“Ah,” Spock replies. “The giants.”

I was reminded of this scene while watching Lennon Naked, last night’s Masterpiece dramatization of John Lennon’s life in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Once upon a time, when Masterpiece Theater – as the venerable PBS anthology was known until recently – tackled biographies of great artists, we were treated to lavish productions about figures of lasting significance (Dickens of London, The Tale of Beatrix Potter).

Now we get movies about dead rock stars. Read the rest of this entry »


Bristol Backin’ Mama: Sarah Palin Targets Murphy Brown

In Commentaries on November 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) in 1992. (Photo by Richard Cartwright/CBS; courtesy USA Today)

Here we go again.

Sarah Palin is reviving the 18-year-old controversy over Murphy Brown’s decision to have a child out of wedlock.

In her new book America by Heart, Palin defends Dan Quayle’s criticism of the sitcom heroine, who chose to raise her son alone when the boy’s father left her.

Palin compares Murphy to her 20-year-old daughter Bristol, who gave birth to a son two years ago and then became a spokeswoman for teenage abstinence.

“Which is the more courageous course for a young, single mother: to sit down and shut up and avoid the critics, or to speak out in a painfully honest way about how tough single parenting is?” Palin writes.

“I’m biased, of course, but given a choice of role models between Bristol and Murphy Brown, I choose Bristol.”

It’s another half-baked idea from Alaska’s half-term governor. Read the rest of this entry »

A Column to Support Great Television

In Notes on November 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

America still loves television.

The average person watches almost 5 hours a day – an all-time high and a 20 percent increase from a decade ago, according to the Nielsen Company’s latest data.

Even in this age of Facebook, people spend just one-fifth as much time online as they do watching television.

TV Columnist isn’t for them.

Instead, I want to write for discerning viewers – people who seek out quality programming and are interested in how it shapes our culture and everyday lives.

My goals are to examine the strengths and weaknesses of given people, programs and channels; raise awareness of trends that affect the medium; and consider television’s enduring role as a mirror that reflects society.

Above all, I want to offer honest, fair criticism.

Please visit regularly and leave your feedback; I really want to hear from you.

Together, let’s support great television – one column at a time.