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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Tuesday, November 12




  John Doyle
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Television



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The Trump impeachment hearings better be a small-screen blockbuster space
These proceedings will be sliced, diced and derided by Fox News and other Trump-supporting outlets - that's why sensational testimony is essential from the get-go
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 12, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISION I n the matter of the public impeachment hearings starting Wednesday and going live on TV, it is important to be prepared. Specifically, be prepared for a nothing-burger.  FULL STORY arrow
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Starkly original, Back to Life is a masterpiece of melancholy space
The drama-mystery-comedy, which follows a woman re-entering the real world after an 18-year prison sentence, is one of the strongest series of this year
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 9, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISION T he other day, yours truly read somewhere that Google has a ''chief happiness officer,'' and that blogging about happiness is an inevitable online hit. You could say that happiness is a specifically American racket. Other countries and cultures give more meaning to, and cultivate, melancholy.  FULL STORY arrow
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The world of teens seethes with rage in these Netflix shows space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 6, 2019 – Page A19
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-- TELEVISION I t is an inescapable fact that Netflix has tried to corner the market in content about teenagers and coming-of-age stories aimed at a teen and millennial audience. Whether it was an algorithm or an executive's decision, the streaming service has devoted much of its original content production to stories about youth and in doing so, it has, as the U.S. edition of TV Guide said last year, ''discovered an untapped storytelling gold mine.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Dumb simplicity: Why The Masked Singer is a massive TV sensation space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONThey scoffed. Oh, how they scoffed.When The Masked Singer arrived on the Fox network at the beginning of this year, the reviews were scathing. One called it, ''A prohibitive favourite for worst new TV show of the year.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Epic fantasy His Dark Materials is lavish, but for kids, not adults space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 4, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISION The appeal of fantasy material depends entirely on your tolerance for certain quirks in the storytelling. There are adults who, for instance, cannot abide talking animals.Even with the most open of minds, they cannot tolerate that leap on to the fantastical.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Morning Show is a fascinating but flawed soap opera space
Flagship drama for Apple TV+ confronts female empowerment, sexual harassment but without any real urgency
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 2, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION J ennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon were on CBS This Morning the other day talking to host Gayle King about The Morning Show, the flagship drama for the new Apple TV+ platform that launched on Friday.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pure: A scary drama about a malfunctioning mind obsessed with sex space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 31, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONThere's a plethora of Halloween-linked programming.It's been going on for days.On Thursday, such network shows as Superstore and Grey's Anatomy will have Halloweenthemed episodes with frights, ghouls, skeletons and such. If you really want creepy chills, though, you can watch Fox News spread strange conspiracy theories.  FULL STORY arrow
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SNL now sliding into misfiring irrelevancy space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 30, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION Like many players in the comedy arena, Saturday Night Live benefited a lot from the first two years of the Trump presidency. From the first moment SNL introduced Melissa McCarthy playing a deranged, but uncannily accurate Sean Spicer, the former White House press secretary, the show was mustsee TV. It took on the challenge of depicting the unglued quality of the Trump administration with gusto and was often on target.  FULL STORY arrow
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Grow up - juvenile language has no place in politics space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 29, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONWatching coverage of Donald Trump's announcement that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had died as a result of a U.S. raid in northern Syria was an eye-opener. And an awful reminder.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mrs. Fletcher is an HBO sizzler space
Heartfelt satire about a mom, her jock son and porn addiction is bolstered by Hahn's devoted performance
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 26, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISION In a recent interview with National Public Radio in the United States, the actor Kathryn Hahn told an anecdote about her early acting career.''In my last semester at Yale, I would take the train in to 30 Rock.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Unicorn makes for fine, unforced comedy on old-fashioned TV space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 24, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONMainstream TV keeps chugging along. You can have your high-concept, premium-cable and movie-star-filled streaming shows.But loads of people want to see a comedy or a police procedural on old-fashioned TV. There's still gas in that tank.  FULL STORY arrow
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While Canada moves forward, CBC TV goes backward space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 23, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONA s sure as the sun came up on the day after the federal election, there were huge sighs of relief at CBC HQ. After all, it would have been super awkward to find Andrew Scheer was prime minister, given that CBC entered into a hissy-fit lawsuit against the Conservative Party during the election campaign. For using the broadcaster's footage in an online advertisement.  FULL STORY arrow
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Who wants to be a politician? Maybe a Netflix show has the answer space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 22, 2019 – Page A22
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-- TELEVISIONWhen Muddy Waters recorded Forty Days and Forty Nights in the long-ago, he wasn't thinking about a Canadian election.He was probably thinking of the Christian hymn of the same title. Or of the Bible, which has multiple references to ''40 days,'' including Moses being on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights.  FULL STORY arrow
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Criminal on Netflix: Spare, subversive and startlingly good space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 8, 2019 – Page A15
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-- We really should cherish this period of prestige cable and streaming TV service. In a couple of years, as the streaming wars unfold, there will be an impulse by studios and broadcasters to retrench. More quantity, perhaps, and less quality. We don't know what will happen exactly, but it's possible that truly unique productions will be scarce.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's time to take televised election debates seriously space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 7, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONWhen Margaret Thatcher was prime minister of Britain, she bluntly rejected televised debates between party leaders at election time. Her reasoning was this: ''We're not electing a president, we're choosing a government.''  FULL STORY arrow
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New fall TV is serious-minded escapism with political twists space
Writers and producers are embracing the cultural currents of the moment, John Doyle writes, and there's certainly something for everyone
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 28, 2019 – Page R1
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-- If there are dominant themes and flavours to the new fall TV season, the main theme is anti-acrimony delivered by the vehicle of dark comedy.And the flavour is whatever makes you nostalgic and feeling nice about the world. It's a bit harumscarum.  FULL STORY arrow
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Carnival Row: Marvellous mashup of Victorian drama and fantasy space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 26, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONEven since it became clear that Game of Thrones was a TV phenomenon like few others, a small army of people have been trying to cook up the next GoT. The impulse among producers and writers has been to find a recipe that included fantasy, violence, politics, sex and revenge. And super-special effects.  FULL STORY arrow
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ER BEGINS ITS SEASON WITH A LIVE EPISODE space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – Page A2
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-- There wasn't much live TV drama in 1997, apart from all-news coverage. The decision to open ER's fourth season with a live broadcast was first considered a gimmick and, later, a triumph. At the time, NBC was one cocky network with a strong Thursday night lineup and gimmicks such as ''supersized'' episodes and major guest stars during sweeps ratings periods.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't be afraid of 'the worst show on Netflix' space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 25, 2019 – Page A18
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-- Recently in this space, I was extolling the many virtues of the second season of HBO's Succession, which is now a big-time Emmy winner. Among other points I laboured to make was the theatricality of key episodes. The central characters, none of them appealing, are put in confined spaces to act out their awfulness.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Emmy Awards made a terrible show, but had many deserving winners space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 24, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONThe decision to go host-free for Sunday's Emmy Awards was wrong. The show dragged and slumped, not at all what the hostless Academy Awards turned out to be on the night. And the fast overnight ratings picture proves the point - the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards on Fox (CTV in Canada) had 25 per cent less viewership than last year's show.  FULL STORY arrow
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These Emmy Awards are bound to be fun, but very fraught space
TV is about storytelling, and the stories that seethe beneath the awards are as dramatic as any series airing or streaming right now
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 21, 2019 – Page A18
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-- It's TV's biggest night. There will be dozens of stars there, including movie stars, who used to avoid television work but now crave it. They will walk the red carpet and present awards for hours and hours. Fun or what?  FULL STORY arrow
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It works: Canada's Lilly Singh really is a late-night revolutionary space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 18, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONCanadian Lilly Singh's new late-night talk show A Little Late With Lilly Singh (NBC, Global, 1:35 a.m.) does not, on the surface, seem revolutionary.There's a studio audience and the host sits at a desk and interviews people. It starts with a monologue, then there's a comedy bit and then there's the interview, usually with a celebrity promoting something. That's pretty much the template for late-night chat shows going back decades. But at the same time, A Little Late is definitely radical.  FULL STORY arrow
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New sketch-comedy series TallBoyz kicks off CBC season space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 17, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONO key dokey, let's talk Canadian content, specifically the comedy content.You get a lot of laughs watching Canadian TV, including the news coverage. On Saturday night, there was a doozy of Scheer comedy on the election coverage. Oddly choreographed, mind you, but howlingly funny. At a campaign stop, Andrew Scheer introduced his family, who had alighted from a bus. Then, he shook hands with them, as Conservative leaders do.  FULL STORY arrow
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We need to be better at TV election debates space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 16, 2019 – Page A16
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-- There needs to be an investigation. An investigation into the fraud, hoodwinking and hornswoggle (look it up) that going's on in this federal election campaign period.I refer to the fraud that was the Maclean's/Citytv National Leaders' Debate on Thursday night. That was excruciating. Nobody seemed ready.  FULL STORY arrow
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If you're looking for America, you'll find it in Country Music space
While perhaps too much his-tory, Ken Burns's latest required viewing traces the history of yet another essential U.S. cultural institution
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 14, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONIt was a fella named Harlan Howard who defined country music as ''Three chords and the truth'' back in the 1950s. For all its catchiness, the pithy label doesn't explain everything. Far from it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix will win the streaming wars space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 12, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONUnlike the federal election campaign and the Democratic candidates debates, the streaming wars have no end date in sight. They're just getting started and will go on and on for years.  FULL STORY arrow
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Air-traffic control in Gander on 9/11: A personal story of unsung heroes space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 11, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONThe theatre critic for The Chicago Tribune changed his mind about Come From Away. When he saw it on Broadway, his reaction was lukewarm. But when he saw a touring production in Chicago, he revised his opinion.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why Succession is now the kind of masterpiece no movie can match space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 10, 2019 – Page A16
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-- I see that the Toronto International Film Festival is still going on. Toronto's King streetcar moves in a straight line again, though, because the first TIFF weekend is over.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Spy on Netflix: Story of real Mossad agent is startling and intense space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 9, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONSometimes the sheer twisted intensity of a true story carries a series very far.That's the case with The Spy (streaming on Netflix), a six-parter that's based on the story of real-life Mossad agent Eli Cohen, who went undercover for Israel in Syria in the early 1960s, with spectacular success for a while.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Victim: Great, grim and gripping British drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 7, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION If your taste runs to grim, tense British crime drama with a dash of immediate social relevancy, I've got a doozy to recommend.  FULL STORY arrow
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Chappelle and Gaffigan: Comedy polar opposites that you need to watch space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 5, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION TIFF this. TIFF that. If you're not TIFFing, you're nothing.Don't get me started on the Toronto International Film Festival. Toronto's King streetcar route is changed for its duration. Honest to heavens, the busiest surface transit route in North America has to go up and around, and this way and that, instead of going in a straight line. Why? Because of TIFF.  FULL STORY arrow
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Biden is on Colbert and the real U.S. political season starts here space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 4, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONFormer U.S. vice-president Joe Biden will be on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Wednesday night (CBS, Global, 11:35 p.m. ET). It's his first late-night appearance since announcing his presidential campaign in April.  FULL STORY arrow
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Watch this gem: The great, doomed love story of The Beautiful Lie space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 2, 2019 – Page A12
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-- TELEVISIONWhen the powers-that-be at the CBC came up with a name for its streaming service, they called it CBC Gem.Not an ultrainspiring name, you'd think. But as it turns out, the service has some real gems in its library.  FULL STORY arrow
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Satirical drama pokes holes in the American dream space
On Becoming a God in Central Florida combines bleak comedy with pyramid schemes and a harsh reality check
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, August 31, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONTelevision is engaged with this time of alarming political and social animosity better than most fiction genres.That's a fact and we should be grateful for it.At regular intervals along comes a series that has less a pure entertainment agenda than a plan to poke around between the lines of great storytelling and sociological insight. That usually requires emphatic characters to have any traction and a view of the world that is darkly comic.  FULL STORY arrow
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Trump has beaten the late-night comics into baffled resignation space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, July 30, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISIONOn Tuesday night, CNN has its first Democratic presidential debate, at 8 p.m., with another one on Wednesday evening. Ratings for last month's Democratic debates on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo were excellent, signalling a significant public interest.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's The Great Hack is the great warning about your data space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, July 29, 2019 – Page A12
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-- TELEVISION N ow, me, I'm not paranoid, I'm just peculiar. Or just careful, depending on your slant.One late afternoon this past winter I was out doing myriad errands in my neighbourhood. I noticed a new coffee shop had opened. I decided to go in, consume a hot drink and warm up. I ordered something and was looking at my handful of change when the young woman behind the counter told me, loftily, ''We're cashless, cards only!''  FULL STORY arrow
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What to watch before summer's end: 2019's best TV so far space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, July 27, 2019 – Page R1
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-- TELEVISIONIt's past midyear 2019, and it's time to assess. TV across multiple platforms has been good, often great. Nobody can watch everything, so crowded is the field. But it's time for a handy catch-up list.  FULL STORY arrow
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Robert Mueller: Man of integrity, terrible on TV space
Former special counsel's testimony, in which he was withdrawn and unsure, proved to be a disappointment for Democrats
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, July 25, 2019 – Page A5
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-- Call it the big mistake.The televised theatre of U.S. congressional hearings and testimony is a particular arena in which the winner provides concise sound bites and uses sincere, savage indignation to have impact. Anyone who expected Robert Mueller to be a winner in that arena on Wednesday, or offer a win for the Democrats, was delusional.  FULL STORY arrow
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How low will CBC TV bosses go in search of ratings and ad dollars? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 24, 2019 – Page A16
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-- My friends, it's time for a resistance. Specifically, a resistance against the direction that current management is taking CBC TV.First came the news that CBC TV is investing heavily in the advertiser-friendly game show Family Feud Canada and bringing back the reality show Battle of the Blades. That's bedrock commercial TV stuff, a craven move to get ratings and ad dollars. It's fine, as long as the fluff is balanced by a plan to air substantial material. What CBC executives like to call ''cerebral'' content.  FULL STORY arrow
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The moon landing eclipsed the suffering in Northern Ireland space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, July 23, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISIONThis month, we're marking the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing.Man walked on the moon; the whole world saw it. It is celebrated now with reams of nostalgic memories about a great feat of technology and the marvel of a remote horizon reached.  FULL STORY arrow
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Something stranger, and funnier, than Stranger Things space
David Harbour mocks self-serious actors in Frankenstein's Monster's Monster, Frankenstein
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, July 20, 2019 – Page A16
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-- Now then, if you watched Stranger Things you might think that you got the strangeness of it all, with the chicanery of scientists at Hawkins National Laboratory, an unknown dimension and plus-sized monster.  FULL STORY arrow
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The terrible beauty of the Tain space
In the weekly series The Enthusiast, The Globe and Mail's writers offer a window into their own private cultural lives: what they're watching, reading, seeing and listening to. This week, John Doyle revisits an Irish epic
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Saturday, July 20, 2019 – Page R2
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-- When I was young and foolish, I got lost in a labyrinthine story about the stealing of a cow and all the repercussions and ripples emanating from that. These ripples involve much fighting, poetry, sex, armies marauding through the night, unrequited love and the emergence of a godlike warrior whose death comes while upright, lashed to a stone, his enemies waiting until a raven lands on him.  FULL STORY arrow
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Emmy award nominations are as weirdly preposterous as ever space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 17, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISIONIf you think there's something odd about the list of Emmy nominations announced on Tuesday morning, there is. It looks oddly out of touch.Each year, one looks at the Emmy nominations with raised eyebrows and maybe a little sputtering of, ''What, what ...?'' This year, more so than usual.  FULL STORY arrow
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The real strength and meaning of Stranger Things 3 lies in female empowerment space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, July 16, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISIONThere's a new slice of sci-fi silliness starting Tuesday. It's Pandora (Space, 8 p.m.) and it's set in 2199, when Earth and alien planets have formed an alliance. Main character Jax (Priscilla Quintana), a tough-but-vulnerable young woman, starts a new life at Space Training Academy. Turns out she's either the saviour of the universe or its worst nightmare.  FULL STORY arrow
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Grantchester: Not the usual soft and pretty British periodpiece drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, July 13, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONBritish period-piece dramas have a singular cinematic style: sunlit, clean and heftily romantic in the picture they present of the past. Things were better then, is the gist. This is how Brexit happened, you think. And you'd be right. There's a pulsating nostalgia thing going on.  FULL STORY arrow
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Civilization is safe: Love Island bombs in the ratings space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, July 11, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONThere was a lot of fuss about Love Island arriving on CBS and CTV on Tuesday evening. Tons of promotion and much lip-smacking anticipation from people who follow reality-TV shows obsessively.  FULL STORY arrow
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Conversation ender: Aziz Ansari's careful comeback special on Netflix space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONAziz Ansari feels guilty, grateful, angry, ashamed, bewildered and chastened. He's quite funny about some of these emotions. Not so funny about others.Little wonder. Last year, he was accused of sexual misconduct. A young woman - she was 23 and he was 35 - wrote on a website that a date with Ansari had gone very wrong, from her perspective. She felt he had acted coercively when they engaged in sexual acts and had ignored her signals that she didn't want sex.  FULL STORY arrow
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As the U.S. awes and dominates, everybody else is playing catch-up space
Despite all the noise about their impudent cockiness, the U.S. women came out fast and hard for their fourth World Cup win, and skillfully demonstrated how the team has achieved greatness
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, July 8, 2019 – Page B8
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TORONTO -- At the final whistle, the man doing play-byplay on the TV feed we get in Canada said, ''Nobody does it better.'' Fair enough. The United States won the World Cup with an emphatic 2-0 win over the Netherlands and, yes, nobody does it with quite the same explicit force.  FULL STORY arrow
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Katherine Ryan: Glitter Room spotlights a very funny Canadian space
Charming comedian focuses on life as a single mother in her second stand-up special
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, July 6, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONIf you were living in Britain and watching the many TV panel shows that amount to political and pop-culture commentary, you'd know Katherine Ryan. The comic originally from Sarnia, Ont., specializes in those shows that aren't so much quiz shows as they are quip shows. It's all about punchlines and instantly acid remarks. She's very good at it, apparently.  FULL STORY arrow
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Impact of the Women's World Cup: Hatred of VAR and loathing of the U.S. space
American players seem ignorant to how their behaviour is being perceived around the world
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, July 6, 2019 – Page S2
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TORONTO -- Go ahead and debate the lessons learned from this Women's World Cup. Go on, I dare you. Two themes emerge and both are toxic.First, the often farcical use of the video assistant referee (VAR).  FULL STORY arrow
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Save Me is the best Canadian series you're not watching yet space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, July 4, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONOne of my counterparts in the United States, writing about TV for a publication there, took to social media this week to declare that after Stranger Things 3 launched, there would be nothing much new that's notable until late July. He suggested now's the time to catch up on things you've missed.  FULL STORY arrow
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Stranger Things 3: Not dour, not deep, just lovely escapism space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONThe charm of Stranger Things began to dissipate somewhat in the second season: too much plot, too many monsters, too many complicated passages of darkness. It wasn't a disaster when it landed two years ago, but there was a dour aura around it, telling viewers that in terms of succumbing easily to the original's grace, humour and delightfulness, lightning wasn't going to strike twice with any ease.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rising above space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The United States' Lindsey Horan jumps for a header with England's Jill Scott during their semi-final match at the Women's World Cup in Lyon, France, on Tuesday. Coming off of their quarter-final ousting of France, the U.S. beat England 2-1 - even without star captain Megan Rapinoe, who was relegated to the bench with a strained hamstring. The U.S. now heads to the final on Sunday, facing either the Netherlands or Sweden. John Doyle has the game story B13  FULL STORY arrow
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Make it stop: The U.S. keeps winning space
England, a team that didn't deserve to fail, becomes the latest squad to fall before the U.S. juggernaut
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 – Page B13
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-- Cometh the hour, cometh the England women. And even they couldn't defeat the United States.The often-quoted wisdom about the sport from former England men's player Gary Lineker is this: ''Football is a simple game.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mini-series offers a portrait of the man behind Fox News space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 29, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONSome people of a certain age have known a guy like Roger Ailes. Possibly there are still men like him in some workplaces: bulky, shrewd, given to snarling, set in his ways politically and socially, and proud of his bluntness; he believes he has a way with women, but all he has is power, not charisma or charm.  FULL STORY arrow
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A REAL AMERICAN HERO space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 29, 2019 – Page S1
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-- The United States women's soccer team overcame the host country France 2-1 in a Women's World Cup quarter-final match thanks to a pair of goals from forward Megan Rapinoe, John Doyle writes S3  FULL STORY arrow
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Boring, ruthless efficiency gives the U.S. win in overhyped contest against France space
The American squad has yet to face a true test of its skills at this World Cup
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 29, 2019 – Page S3
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-- Hyped as the blockbuster match of this Women's World Cup - an insult to other teams, really - the quarterfinal clash between France and the United States had an aura all its own.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Rook: A fine espionage thriller ruined by fantasy flim-flammery space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, June 27, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONOlivia Munn was on Late Night with Seth Meyers the other night. She was very charming and told funny stories about her mom and her family.Thing is, she was there to promote a new TV series in which she stars, and she barely mentioned it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Blame bungled tactics and cautious coaching for Canada's exit from the World Cup space
Given the depth of skill on this team, coach Heiner-Moller's choices must be questioned. Why did he decide to have Sinclair play full-length games? Why did he allow Beckie to take that penalty? It should never have come to this
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 – Page B15
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-- 8 In its past nine World Cup games, Canada has managed to score just eight goals.182 Canadian captain Christine Sinclair netted a single goal through the team's four World Cup matches, bringing her career total to 182, two shy of American Abby Wambach's international record.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canadian women's soccer team needs to repay supporters' loyalty space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 24, 2019 – Page B9
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-- The next few days will define a certain special relationship, and that relationship is the one between this country and Canada's women's soccer team.And it's a relationship, for sure.  FULL STORY arrow
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HBO's Years and Years: Unmissable dose of the frights about the near future space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 24, 2019 – Page A14
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-- F ar be it from me to call a halt to your sweet summer vibe, but I must draw your attention to something. It just finished airing in Britain, where it was called ''2019's most terrifying TV show.'' There are no scary monsters in it. Except, that is, for a populist politician played with ruthless precision by Emma Thompson. If you want a dose of the frights about the looming future, it's here.  FULL STORY arrow
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TV adaptation of Das Boot is a first-rate wartime thriller space
The eight-episode miniseries is more of a sequel than a retelling of the classic 1981 film's narrative
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONThere was a time when the term ''Europudding'' was the kiss of death. It was applied to movies and TV series made with money and artistic input from various European countries. Maybe a French star, a German writer and an English director, and what you got was something nobody could digest.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mercurial Canada may finally flourish against Sweden space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 22, 2019 – Page S9
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-- On the summer solstice, the Women's World Cup stopped. On the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, there were no games played. But the really long days and hours are just beginning for teams that survived to do battle in the round of 16 and their supporters.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada leaves it too late in loss to Dutch space
Netherlands proves a potent foe, but tardiness is beginning to become a theme for our team
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, June 21, 2019 – Page B12
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-- Canada was beaten 2-1 by the Netherlands on Thursday, the toughest team it has faced so far at this World Cup, and it might well rue its caution in this match and in earlier matches against Cameroon and New Zealand.  FULL STORY arrow
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TSN's all-women World Cup coverage is revolutionary space
Well-versed, witty group assembled by the Canadian network is a rare and refreshing sight in the world of sportscasting
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, June 20, 2019 – Page A16
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-- Diana Matheson is a cool customer. One glance from her, one look, one half-smile of skepticism and you understand why she's been the locker-room leader of Canada's women's soccer team for years.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Raptors effect: Culture, sports and politics converge space
During Toronto's victory parade on Monday, the nexus between social identity and sport was laid bare: It's about us
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 – Page A21
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-- TELEVISIONThen there was a parade and a party, and most people went home happy.What concluded with the Raptors victory parade in Toronto on Monday was a wild and joyous ride. It lasted for weeks and its effect is not just the team being champions - at last - it's the communal spirit the event created.  FULL STORY arrow
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Breathtaking Canada wins again, needs only a tweak of boldness to beat everyone space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 17, 2019 – Page B12
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TORONTO -- There is nothing to stop Canada from going all the way to the final of this Women's World Cup. Nothing perhaps except a new dash of daring.A weekend of action in which several top teams competed, albeit against lesser opposition, did not put Canada in the spotlight, essentially because it remains bizarrely underrated. But it did serve notice that this is a complete team with arresting depth and assurance.  FULL STORY arrow
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Controversial Euphoria is as lurid as advertised, and a great trip space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 15, 2019 – Page A20
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-- Every now and then, along comes a TV series that attracts the shocked-and-appalled attention of right-wing conservatives in the United States. Often before it even airs.You can usually tell that controversy is being cooked up when coverage makes regular appearances on the online Drudge Report.  FULL STORY arrow
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Cautious Canada needs to stop passing and start scoring space
If the team doesn't find a way to create more excitement for fans, its group opponents are the least of its worries
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 15, 2019 – Page S11
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TORONTO -- The Canadian women's team will have its destiny at its own feet when it plays New Zealand in Grenoble, France, on Saturday. The other two teams in Group E at this World Cup, the Netherlands and Cameroon, will have already played earlier in the day.  FULL STORY arrow
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An obnoxious team? It's the American way space
U.S. showboating in 13-0 win over Thailand earned the typical tut-tuts, but nobody should be surprised
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, June 13, 2019 – Page B15
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-- We should be immensely grateful to the United States women's team for that 13-0 victory over Thailand, and the gross showboating celebrations after each and every goal.We should express gratitude because the game and the celebratory behaviour emphatically revealed the U.S. women's team to be what it truly is: overpoweringly good and obnoxious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Plot twist: Suddenly, U.S. TV viewers want to see the Raptors space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 – Page A19
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-- TELEVISIONOh, so now they're interested.Now we have their attention.Last week I was telling you about the fear and the handwringing in the U.S. TV racket about the presence of the Raptors in the NBA Finals.  FULL STORY arrow
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Canada wins a torrid World Cup opener space
Women's side beats Cameroon 1-0, but offensive issues may be a cause for concern
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 – Page B15
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TORONTO -- There are several stories that emerge from Canada's first game at this World Cup. The main one is a 1-0 victory: A hardfought one over a resilient, intense Cameroon on Monday evening in France. A vital step, but one that should make supporters nervous. The goals don't come easily to this team.  FULL STORY arrow
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Watch this: One unheralded horror classic on Netflix space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 10, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONI know, I know. As if you didn't have enough on your plate, with the Raptors, the Women's World Cup and a substantial batch of new and returning series arriving in June. And here I am suggesting another must-see series.  FULL STORY arrow
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This Women's World Cup is already gripping and contentious space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 10, 2019 – Page B10
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TORONTO -- The clamour of sports events is really loud right now: The NBA Finals, the golf tournament, the tennis, the show jumping, the baseball and there is probably some event not on this list but has people enraptured.  FULL STORY arrow
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Pulpy fiction goes for an exquisite second season space
Although Big Little Lies was originally meant to be a one-off series, the show's return is far from a misfire
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 8, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONThe first season of Big Little Lies in 2017 was more than a gem. It was a brilliant, beautifully made and crafted drama.Pulpy fiction of the highest order, it was set among well-off, smart but brittle people in beautiful Monterey, Calif. And it was mainly about the women. Its all-star cast of Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Alexander Skarsgard, Shailene Woodley and Laura Dern, drew attention to it but the attention was wonderfully rewarded.  FULL STORY arrow
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The ecosystem of women's soccer is still fragile and respect would help space
FIFA offers little more than grudging tolerance, as if it were making a charitable donation
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 8, 2019 – Page S3
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TORONTO -- The first Women's World Cup, then called the FIFA Women's World Championship, was held in China in 1991.Twelve countries competed and the United States won it.The U.S. magazine Sports Illustrated devoted a story to the victory that was less than one page in length. That two-thirds-of-apage piece appeared in print opposite a stunningly sexist fullpage ad. Two attractive women on a ski lift gaze out and the caption is, ''I just saw what I want for Christmas, and I bet he drinks Johnnie Walker Red.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix revives culture-war target with Tales of the City space
Reboot of Maupin's LGBTQ stories is sweet, but unlikely to match original series' notoriety
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, June 5, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONOf all the revivals and reboots that Netflix has done, the one arriving on Friday is the one most steeped in controversy, culture wars and warped nostalgia. It's also the most fascinating because it's a reminder of how much and how little has changed.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Handmaid's Tale is as grimly alluring as ever space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONThere are several crucial scenes in the opening episodes of the third season of The Handmaid's Tale (returns Sunday, Bravo, 9 p.m., with two episodes). Some are visually important and some are important in shifting the plot forward. Yet, perhaps the most striking for viewers here is toward the end of the first new episode. This question is asked of a character: ''Do you wish to seek asylum in the country of Canada?'' Yes, the series picks up immediately after the events that concluded Season 2. That's when June (Elisabeth Moss) made the startling decision to pass up a chance to run toward freedom in Canada. Instead, she handed her baby to her friend Emily (Alexis Bledel) and remained in Gilead, for reasons that weren't clear.  FULL STORY arrow
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What a laugh: Fear of the Toronto Raptors sweeps the U.S. TV industry space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, June 3, 2019 – Page A13
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-- TELEVISIONThey don't like us. They wish the Toronto Raptors didn't exist.The ''they'' we're talking about here are the U.S.networks and the pundits who track the ratings.  FULL STORY arrow
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The most disturbing drama of this year space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, June 1, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONIt is unsettling to realize that many people looking for something new to watch on Netflix this week will actually be unfamiliar with what happened in Central Park, New York, on an April night in 1989. What happened was the rape and attempted murder of a young woman who was jogging there, Trisha Meili. The 28-year-old Meili was doing her usual evening run after a long day at work on Wall Street.  FULL STORY arrow
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This summer, expect mystery, politics, hot trash and suspense space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONAs I write this, there's light rain and a chilly wind blowing from somewhere. It's about 10 C. Eventually it will be hot. And this year's summer TV menu is especially hot. Herewith, a rough guide to what's coming and what's returning.  FULL STORY arrow
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A grim cerebral drama not often seen in Canada space
Set in a Mennonite congregation, Pure is a gripping crime show that explores social tensions surrounding greed, power and religious moralism
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONIn January of 2017, CBC TV aired a new original drama, Pure. It was an unusual kind of CBC drama - it didn't look like a U.S. network drama with a sprinkle of Canadian-ness added and neither did it seem derived from a successful U.S. cable series. It was starkly original.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Hot Zone: outbreak thriller with a cold set of scary facts space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, May 27, 2019 – Page A14
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-- It starts with a very graphic scene that lasts several minutes. It's a warning, that scene. If you don't have the stomach to see what a virus such as Ebola does to the human body, then walk away now.  FULL STORY arrow
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Outrageous show What/If is the new cheese that pleases space
Netflix's latest is a powerful hybrid of the old-school soap and a neo-tawdry mystery
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, May 25, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONTime was, a person could find a nice personal indulgence on TV; a potboiler soap opera with glamorous skulduggery, dramatic OMG twists and implausible but satisfying turns. Lavish sets and dark secrets were part of it. Watching competent actors eat the scenery was part of it, too.  FULL STORY arrow
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Reboots out, masked singers in space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, May 23, 2019 – Page A18
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-- Remember when there were actual seasons?Yeah, me too. You don't have to be a codger to be aware that, once upon a time, winter gave way to mild weather and nature's growth. Not flooding and grey skies.  FULL STORY arrow
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Raging and frothing at the Game of Thrones ending? Get a grip space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONGame of Thrones? Don't get me started. Disney's Aladdin is in theatres Thursday. Get your tickets now.Now, I tell you.It's hard to gauge just how much of the disappointment with the ending of GoT is real. I mean, there are people setting up a petition to have the final season remade by ''competent writers.'' That's mad. But take away the idiocy of raging and frothing at the mouth over the the ending - especially the penultimate episode - and there's still some serious sulking going on by people who should know better.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why George Clooney is back on TV in Catch-22 space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, May 20, 2019 – Page A13
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-- You can tell a lot about the circles in which George Clooney moves by what he's insistent on saying at the end of an interview, not the beginning. The thing he wants to leave you with.  FULL STORY arrow
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The unmissable Fleabag returns on Amazon Prime Video, but approach with caution space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, May 18, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION''It's a love story,'' the young woman says in the opening scene, after wiping blood off her face while standing in front of a mirror in a bathroom. Thing is, she says it directly to the camera, with a cheeky smile that's almost a smirk.  FULL STORY arrow
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Chernobyl is an intense, tough and relevant miniseries space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, May 6, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONLook around and it's as plain as a poke in your eye. There is a weakening of rules and the truth is considered seditious. What was considered once-in-a-thousand-years flooding is routine while the root causes are argued from the vantage point of dry land in parliaments and other political assemblies.  FULL STORY arrow
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Dead to Me is alive with wit space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, May 4, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISION A lot of new and compelling content arrives this weekend. But first, let's go back in time to give context to the top item.It's been more than 30 years since Fox debuted the relentlessly coarse but sensationally popular Married ... with Children. Among its stars, and wildly ubiquitous for a time, was Christina Applegate, who played a character who wouldn't be tolerated now - the criminally dumb teenage daughter Kelly. And it's been 20 years since the vastly superior and short-lived Freaks and Geeks arrived on NBC. In the ensemble cast, the standout was Linda Cardellini playing the disillusioned teenager Lindsay Weir, a character who would become iconic.  FULL STORY arrow
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IRISH PARTITION space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, May 3, 2019 – Page A2
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On Netflix, watch as a new - but not so new - American revolution unfolds space
The documentary Knock Down the House is at its best focusing on the seemingly one-of-a-kind rise of Congresswoman AOC - but it also tells us this wasn't a singular phenomenon in U.S. politics
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, May 2, 2019 – Page A14
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-- Doing the rounds of the latenight talk shows recently - an arena in which she is a muchprized star guest - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told an interesting story.A Republican member of Congress had moseyed over to her and asked bluntly, ''Is it true you got $10-million from Netflix?'' Ocasio-Cortez told the story with a measure of disbelief. Yet she made her point - she spooks Republicans. They don't get her, don't understand why she was elected. And no, she didn't get $10-million from Netflix.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Move: CBC's little dance series deserves major attention space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONThe news that CBC TV plans to revive Battle of the Blades is hardly a big surprise. It's an obvious move for the new vice-president of English services - populist entertainment with an established title and it marries hockey with figure skating. Also, it's superpositive.  FULL STORY arrow
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From Trudeau to hockey, The Simpsons' lame Canada episode was all crude clichés space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONThere are several Canadians on the writing staff of The Simpsons. And from the vantage point of a writers' room in Los Angeles, their Canada recedes into crude cliche and stereotypes. In the end, they decide that the United States is a much more attractive place.  FULL STORY arrow
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Meet Mary Berg, your new TV cooking infatuation space
MasterChef Canada winner's focus on simplicity makes for delightful viewing
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, April 27, 2019 – Page A20
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-- There are more cooking shows than any of us could possibly watch. There are competitive shows, gimmick shows and oodles of other content that is either plainly silly or amounts to food porn. Do we need another one?  FULL STORY arrow
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Bonding on Netflix: Fun and filthy frolics in the dominatrix world space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, April 25, 2019 – Page A15
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-- Earlier this month I was invited to a special screening and after-party in Los Angeles for a new series on Netflix. Very glam. This seemed odd but nice.The invitation came from one of those top PR companies in L.A.  FULL STORY arrow
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Don't have a cow, man: Excitement about Simpsons ribbing Canada and Trudeau is sad space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 – Page A20
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-- Somebody needs a cold cloth on the head and a nap. That's us.There's been a severe outbreak of giddiness in this neck of the woods. Don't get me started.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why voters keep electing TV stars space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – Page A18
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-- It's like Rick Mercer was elected Prime Minister.In Ukraine on the weekend, one Volodymyr Zelensky, an actor and comedian, was elected President by a landslide.Zelensky, 41, was previously known countrywide for his role in a satiric Ukrainian TV series, playing a high-school teacher who suddenly becomes President after a video of him denouncing corruption goes viral and inspires the nation.  FULL STORY arrow
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Special and Gentleman Jack are superb and disruptive space
Both series bring wit and humour to the real-life experiences of two queer protagonists
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, April 20, 2019 – Page A18
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-- There's a lot to be said for a long weekend. Especially a four-day weekend, as this one is for some people. Time to reflect, time to relax. Perhaps even enter into worlds that are far from everyday existence. There are two such worlds to explore on TV/ streaming. Both are funny and wise, and both are set in arenas we are lamentably ignorant about.  FULL STORY arrow
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Epic bursts of frustration, anger and glee on TV as Mueller report lands space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, April 19, 2019 – Page A17
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-- Frustration, anger, bafflement and glee.That's what spread across U.S. TV news on Thursday morning as Attorney-General William Barr offered a good-news spin on the Mueller report - and then the actual report was released.  FULL STORY arrow
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