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Caryn James

Before HBO's "Cinema Verite," Watch the Real "American Family"

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 12, 2011 1:30 AM
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  • 1 Comment
One day in the 1970’s the Loud family decided to let cameras follow them around, and before you knew it we had Snooki and table-tossing Real Housewives. An American Family, the first successful reality television series, gripped the country and kept social commentators chattering in 1973, and for more than 20 years has been unavailable. Now substantial, and pretty amazing, excerpts are on the website of WNET, the New York station that produced the series.
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Don't-Miss TV: Exhilarating Film "Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child"

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 12, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child is Tamra Davis’ extraordinary close-up look at the artist. Davis and Basquiat were friends, and she filmed an extensive interview with him in 1986, two years before he died. More than two decades later, she used that interview as the centerpiece for a film as colorful and lively as the 80’s SoHo it brings back to life. It’s rare for a film to immerse us so thoroughly and intimately in an artist’s life and work.
More: Best on TV

Review: Brash New Twists in "House" As Thirteen Is Sprung From Prison

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 11, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
At the start of tonight’s bold new episode of House, we learn that Thirteen, who mysteriously fled last year, has been in prison. (No real life surprise: Olivia Wilde was off filming Tron). As she walks through the prison gates, she is astonished to find House waiting with a martini -- what more can a girl ask for? And as if the writers were energized by being free of the interminable Cuddy-House on-and-off romance, the episode zooms in a fresh direction.
More: TV Reviews

The Killing: The Season's Smartest New Crime Series

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 10, 2011 5:30 AM
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It's not too late to catch up with The Killing, AMC's gripping, atmospheric new detective series about the murder of a teenaged girl in Seattle. I was too busy with Borgias and Kennedys to catch last week's premiere myself, but it's easy and definitely worth doing.

Video: SNL Lets Helen Mirren Down, But Nails the Kennedys Miniseries

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 10, 2011 4:20 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Helen Mirren,like any great actor, has suffered through some bad scripts, and you have to add last night's Saturday Night Live to that list. From the opening monologue, with the actors dressed as sailors from South Pacific singing "There is Nothing Like a Dame" (as SNL itself would say, Really?) with Mirren in a hideous blue spangled dress, to the last mintues when she very briefly emerged in a leopard jumpsuit as an aging stripper, the writers did nothing to take advantage of her wit. Her comic strength is withering delivery, not funny costumes.
More: SNL Clips

Watch: Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski, Yankees vs. Red Sox

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 9, 2011 1:31 AM
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It takes a lot for me to notice sports, like some college basketball game forcing Letterman into reruns. But Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski are two of the funniest actors on television, and even I get the Yankees vs. Red Sox rivalry, so this new commercial transcends sports.
More: Web Video

TV Review: "Game of Thrones" Has A Heart of Geek

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 8, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 113 Comments
“I am a khaleesi of the Dothraki!” If that sentence makes you say “Huh?” or “I don’t care,” I am here to tell you that you can live the rest of your life quite happily without ever watching Game of Thrones, HBO’s superhyped, superexpensive new fantasy miniseries.
More: TV Reviews

Video Preview: Doctor Who Comes to America

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 7, 2011 12:59 PM
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In the new season of Doctor Who, the Doctor travels to America and visits some landmark places, including the Oval Office. It looks fun to me. Here are two quick glimpses of what's coming up, on April 23.

Less Froth, More Nazis: A Darker “Upstairs Downstairs”

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 7, 2011 3:58 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The new Upstairs Downstairs is as visually glittering as you might want. The camera swirls around a crystal chandelier in the opening credits; the stylish young owners of 165 Eaton Place have painted the walls in the entry hall a beautiful peacock blue. And glamor? Wallis Simpson drops by a cocktail party, Cecil Beaton comes to photograph the family, and the soon-to-be King George VI stops by to chat, without the hint of a stutter. But there is also a Nazi who crashes the party, a Fascist chauffeur, and a Jewish maid who has escaped from Germany.
More: TV Reviews

Video: Funny All-Star Spoof, "Uptown Downstairs Abbey"

  • By Caryn James
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  • April 7, 2011 1:00 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Before the new version of Upstairs Downstairs arrives on Sunday, take a look at Uptown Downstairs Abbey, a delicious parody of the genre and a direct descendent of the recent Downton Abbey.

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