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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Monday, March 18




  John Doyle
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Television



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Netflix's Turn Up Charlie turns up a zany Idris Elba space
The actor, usually cast in serious roles, is in full-throttle comedy mode in this frantically paced new series
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 16, 2019 – Page A21
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-- It's a packed weekend of content, so let's get started.There's a lot of music and drama involved, with some comedy.If you watched Saturday Night Live last week, you saw first-time host Idris Elba deliver a heart-onmy-sleeve opening monologue.  FULL STORY arrow
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Losers on Netflix: A thrilling series about real sports heroes space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, March 14, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISION Let's talk sports today. Sports represent that great distraction from the mess and muddle of daily life, from the big catastrophes that dominate the daily news and the depressing polarizations that politics creates.  FULL STORY arrow
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A TV critic's guide to the SNC-Lavalin drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page A19
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-- One recent evening I was just finishing a spot of ironing and about to tell my cat Rita what we were having for dinner when the phone rang.It was an inopportune interruption. Rita has finicky tastes and has been known to send back her dinner with the hauteur of the Queen. However, she has a fondness for chicken in whitewine sauce and I was about to announce that we were having chicken cassoulet in white wine and it was almost ready.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why the demonization of Fox News is a very big deal space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONYou can tell another election is looming in the United States. It's more than a year away and yet it feels like it's looming. And the evidence for that is not just the number of obscure Democrats who have already declared they are running for president. The key evidence is the fixation on Fox News.  FULL STORY arrow
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After Life from Ricky Gervais on Netflix: mad, melancholy and powerful space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, March 11, 2019 – Page A16
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-- There's an insane amount of sci-fi, fantasy and horror material floating round. And more paranormal drama than is healthy for any human being to consume. A robustly adult life should not include quite so much childish nonsense. As I see it.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Enemy Within: The bonkers pleasure of network TV space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 9, 2019 – Page A21
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-- TELEVISIONIf you've been watching non-Netflix TV over the last while, the promotion of two new network series has been inescapable. They are Whiskey Cavalier and The Enemy Within.  FULL STORY arrow
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Side benefit of too much TV: We live in literary times space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, March 7, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONFor all the moaning and wailing that is heard daily about this digital age and short attention spans, we live in literary times.On Wednesday, it was announced that Netflix will adapt Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude for TV.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's Diggstown is a charming, no-glitz legal drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISION A nother day, another new legal drama.It's an interesting twist that CBC TV premieres two legal dramas within days of each other, but before you assume it's a poverty-of-imagination issue, the rebooted Street Legal and the new Diggstown (Wednesday, CBC, 8 p.m.  FULL STORY arrow
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Does media consolidation mean the end of everything good on TV? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Page A22
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-- TELEVISION A small earthquake struck the TV industry in L.A. last week. Richard Plepler, chairman and chief executive of HBO, announced he was leaving the premium cable outlet. He'd spent 27 years there, rising from the publicity department to become CEO, and under his tenure, HBO launched Game of Thrones, Veep, True Blood, The Newsroom and Girls.  FULL STORY arrow
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New Street Legal on CBC is old-school and overwrought space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, March 4, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONWhen CBC launched Street Legal in 1987, there were a lot of high-octane legal dramas on TV. Top of the heap was L.A.Law, a sexy, sizzling hit. And Street Legal was ours: Idealistic lawyers fighting the good fight in Toronto, dealing with Canadian law and Canadian issues. Downtown Toronto was front and centre.  FULL STORY arrow
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Watch this and gasp: Oscar-winner Free Solo is a stunner space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 2, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONThere was a little collective gasp when the winner of the Academy Award for documentary feature was announced last Sunday. It was a gasp of satisfaction because the winner is a stunner.  FULL STORY arrow
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A grim tale: Testimony that Michael Jackson was a child abuser space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONIt is nearly impossible now to understand the hysteria that surrounded Michael Jackson in the mid-eighties. Before social media and before smartphones, there existed a feverish intensity of interest in him. He was the biggest star.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's fixation on dead women: Offensive or enlightening? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, February 26, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONLast month's shiny new phenomenon on Netflix was the series You, about a stalker and his victims. This month, it's Dirty John (now streaming on Netflix Canada). It's an adaptation of the popular true-crime podcast, in turn based on a lengthy Los Angeles Times investigation, about an abusive relationship between a rich woman and a devious, dangerous male con artist.  FULL STORY arrow
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A bumper crop of spring TV: The shortlist space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 25, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONIt's going to be a torrid spring in the TV arena. And now that the Academy Awards are done and that awardsseason fandango has ended, it's time to look forward.  FULL STORY arrow
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Yes, there are TV alternatives to the Academy Awards space
Netflix's Paddleton and Ray Romano's stand-up special are great picks over this year's disorganized ceremony
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 23, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONIt is perfectly possible you are not that interested in the 91st Academy Awards (Sunday, ABC, CTV, 8 p.m.).There's no host. No, wait, there are presenters, but no actual host. No, wait, there's a rumour that will step up, last minute, to host it. Never mind. Some of the categories will be presented during commercial breaks. No, wait, all of the 24 categories will be presented live on TV. It will go on and on through the evening, moving very slowly to the climactic best picture award.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mr. Jane and Finch: A timely portrait of politics as it should be, but isn't space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 21, 2019 – Page A17
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-- At the moment, nothing incites intemperate hyperbole as much as politicians do. Politicians in power, that is.We get the picture: They stalk the corridors of power with blithe insouciance claiming to do good when in fact they are simply out for themselves, their friends, their moneyed backers or some other hidden agenda that must remain secret because voters would revolt if they knew what's hidden. Ask Andrew Scheer. He'll set you straight on this.  FULL STORY arrow
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Lorena Bobbitt: The infamous attack and what happened next space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONOne night in 1993, in Manassas, Va., Lorena Bobbitt cut off the penis of her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, as he slept and left their home with it, later throwing the appendage from her car.  FULL STORY arrow
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Killing Eve: Prestige popcorn or cultural milestone? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 18, 2019 – Page A15
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-- Explaining the impact of Killing Eve, let alone its unique quality, is a Herculean task.Somebody in the TV racket here coined the term ''prestige popcorn,'' not specifically to nail down Killing Eve but as a general idea. It would apply to premiumcable quality content that is not dead serious but fun while being incredibly smart.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Umbrella Academy on Netflix: maddening and lovely space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 16, 2019 – Page A22
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-- TELEVISIONIt's a guess but a fair one that a series about a dysfunctional family of superheroes is not normally your cup of tea, or mine.But The Umbrella Academy (streaming on Netflix) is a different kettle of cod. It's a different kind of take on the whole superhero thing. Also, there are, for you and me, a set of reasons to pay attention to it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sexually speaking: The truth about Dr. Ruth space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 14, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISION PASADENA, CALIF.It was a lesson about celebrity power rankings.First, George Clooney was in the room, talking up the TV adaptation of Catch-22 that he has done for Hulu. He directs and acts in it. Clooney is beyond A-list.  FULL STORY arrow
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How to sell CBC shows: Add the sizzle of rock and fashion space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONWhat is that line from The Godfather? ''Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in...'' Mainly I'm down here in California to encounter and write about big-ticket or interesting upcoming TV from the U.S. cable and streaming services. You know, sizzling dramas and documentaries sure to be talked about in the coming months, from the likes of HBO and AMC.  FULL STORY arrow
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Henry Winkler: TV's most sweetly complicated man space
Just like the acting coach he plays, Winkler is still wildly enthusiastic
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, February 12, 2019 – Page A14
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TELEVISION -- It's midmorning on an unusually chilly day in Beverly Hills.A small group of journalists is in a room waiting. The muttered talk is of travel woes, cancelled flights, luggage issues and traffic.  FULL STORY arrow
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Big Little Lies: More lies, more female power than ever space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 11, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONThere was a major occasion of female power here at the mid-season TV critics press tour. It was cheerful, chatty and some awe was evident from the throng of quizzical journalists. It was the cast of HBO's Big Little Lies, Season 2.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's problem is complacency, not Netflix 'imperialism' space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 7, 2019 – Page A14
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-- In the matter of the CBC and its president talking about Netflix's cultural imperialism, the dust has now settled a bit. It is time for sensible talk.As a citizen, a consumer and a journalist keeping an eye on the Canadian TV racket, I sympathize with CBC boss Catherine Tait's expression of anguish. Netflix is rich, powerful and internationally renowned. It knows no boundaries and essentially it scoffs at international barriers. But if you want Netflix to take Canadian content with a seriousness that involves regulations and specific commitments of the kind familiar in Canadian TV for decades, take that up with the government. It is unwise and unfair to make the public feel guilty about enjoying Netflix.  FULL STORY arrow
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Russian Doll on Netflix: The most entertaining puzzle in ages space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – Page A18
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-- It's fiendishly clever, the latest binge-worthy series from the alleged cultural imperialism monster that is Netflix. It's also very adult, full of salty language and takes a weighty philosophical turn.  FULL STORY arrow
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Strike while the gridiron is hot space
I'm not certain about the rules of NFL football, but watching the Super Bowl was a good opportunity to get some ironing done
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 – Page A14
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-- I''ve had afternoon naps more exciting. One time, I accidentally took a Microsoft Excel course that had more keenly felt drama.Look, it wasn't my idea to write about the Super Bowl. They asked me. They've been asking for years, so I finally mumbled ''yes.'' The Super Bowl is like an infectious disease - there is a long, hard battle to defend against it, and no matter your resources, you can succumb.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fear not - serious programs will counter the Super Bowl mania space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 2, 2019 – Page A20
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-- It's Super Bowl weekend and the entire TV racket is spooked.They back away from the ratings monster, assuming that every pair of eyeballs will be glued to the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots playing on Sunday (6:30 p.m., CTV, TSN and CBS). Such are the shivers of excitement rattling through all of the United States and Canada, nobody can concentrate on anything else. Or so they think.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why You on Netflix is a sensational hit space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 31, 2019 – Page A14
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-- TELEVISIONPerhaps with the intention of spooking competitors in traditional TV and cable, Netflix started 2019 by offering some viewer numbers. That is, projections on how many people in the United States and internationally actually watch at least a portion of a series on the streaming service.  FULL STORY arrow
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Kellyanne Conway: crucible of all meaning in the Trump era space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – Page A17
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-- Last week on CNN, Anderson Cooper presented to viewers a short clip of Kellyanne Conway talking about Donald Trump's wall. Or refusing to say ''wall,'' to be exact. It was Cooper's ''Ridiculist'' segment and on that evening, he said sometimes the one-minute piece writes itself.  FULL STORY arrow
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Breslin and Hamill: a great celebration of old-school journalism space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 29, 2019 – Page A17
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-- A couple of months back, when this newspaper published my annual Top 10 Most Irritating Canadians (TV-related) list, an actor on a CBC show took to social media to complain. It's not that the actor was even mentioned in it. The gist of the complaint was that the piece was ''negative'' and the paper gave space to a person to write it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Coroner is typical CBC fare: nice, fake, forgettable escapism space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 28, 2019 – Page A15
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-- ''This was no accident,'' says the coroner after extracting a big slice of broken glass from the body of a victim. Well, no, obviously it wasn't an accident and somebody was really, really mad at the guy who is now dead.  FULL STORY arrow
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Black Earth Rising is a daring, weighty, disturbing thriller space
New Netflix series is far from popcorn entertainment, goes where few dramas nowadays would dare
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 26, 2019 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONFew dramas have the guts to present a counter-argument against the storyline right at the start. That is, however, precisely what happens at the beginning of the powerful and very pertinent Black Earth Rising (streams on Netflix Canada).  FULL STORY arrow
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Cardinal Season 3 is superb in its quiet intensity and mystery space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 24, 2019 – Page A14
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-- It's not big and cinematic. Neither is it surface gloss and routine characters spouting routine dialogue. Instead, it is subtly, quietly emotional while still being a gripping thriller.The third season of Cardinal (Thursday, CTV, 9 p.m.) is about a murder, a search for a killer. Or maybe several killers in cases that might be linked or might not. But at its core, it's about about haunting and the haunted. As with the superb first season, there is remarkable stillness in it, a quality of quiet intensity. As much as it is about a brutal murder and brutally evil intentions, it's about unspoken obligations. The six-part series is drenched in the muted colours of fall in Northern Ontario and the muted colours help illustrated the muted lives lived there: the despair and the lust for vengeance, or lunge toward nihilism, that despair can ignite.  FULL STORY arrow
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Keeping it short and sweet: How TV is fighting the Netflix bloat space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONBriefly: There's a lot to be said for short-form content. A lot.This column has complained before about the trend of bloated storytelling that Netflix has created: too many series that have too many episodes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Thank TV ratings for killing the increasingly irrelevant Oscars space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 22, 2019 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONYou must excuse my lack of sunny disposition about the Academy Awards. The announcement of the nominees is on Tuesday morning and I care about it as much as Doug Ford cares about Ontario postsecondary students: Not very much at all.  FULL STORY arrow
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A thousand feet beneath politics: The truth about a coal miner's job space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 21, 2019 – Page A15
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-- In the craven debacle that is U.S politics in the Trump era, coal miners played an important supporting role for a while.During the 2016 presidential campaign, candidate Donald Trump pledged to ''get those mines open'' and bring back a lot of coal-mining jobs. Famously, at a rally in West Virginia, he put on a miner's helmet, imitated a miner shovelling coal and brayed: ''For those miners, get ready, because you're going to be working your asses off.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Brexit, the movie, is a terrifying lesson in populism space
Farcical TV drama puts focus on 'geeky analyst' who used social media to lead a 'Leave' victory
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 19, 2019 – Page A20
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-- Remember where you were when you heard in 2016 that Britain had voted narrowly to leave the European Union? If you remember at all - the referendum seemed like a mere sop to an anti-EU fringe at the time - you probably went ''uh-oh!''  FULL STORY arrow
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A true, uplifting hour about unlikely skating champs space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 17, 2019 – Page A13
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-- When I was in Dublin recently and crossing one of the bridges over the Liffey I saw the new ferry that carries people and cars to England. It is named ''W.B. Yeats.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Is Netflix phenom Marie Kondo most adorable or most annoying? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONListen, you have too much stuff. I have too much stuff.We're all embarrassed about it. It's like being caught by David Suzuki when you're throwing an old toaster into the Green Bin. You could try explaining the other bins are full and besides, somebody must have a good-paying job extracting old toasters and such from the Green Bin stuff. It wouldn't fly. Suzuki would just give you this look.  FULL STORY arrow
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Good riddance to Criminal Minds and its female-subjugation porn space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 14, 2019 – Page A13
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-- Generally speaking, it ill behooves anyone to take great pleasure in the ending of a longrunning TV series. But in the case of Criminal Minds on CBS, it's perfectly legit.  FULL STORY arrow
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True Detective Season 3 goes back to basics space
The HBO drama series' latest season is done with precision, but lacks the ferocity of the first season
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONSometimes, to progress you must go back to your essence and channel it again.In the matter of True Detective, ain't it the truth: The first season arrived exactly five years ago on HBO with a bang. A murder mystery of grave intent and profound depth, it was immediately called the best drama of 2014, which indeed it was.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let's talk about Sex Education: Saucy, smart Netflix series is worth a spin space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 10, 2019 – Page A16
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-- Hello again and Happy New Year.January is just great, isn't it? Even in these times of populist nihilism and spite, a person can construct an air of optimism. New year, new beginnings and while it's chilly outside, we feel warm inside. It won't last, of course. By the time the slow, damp drip of April is upon us, we'll be cranky. You know I will.  FULL STORY arrow
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New year promises a smorgasbord of big-ticket TV space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 5, 2019 – Page R2
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-- TELEVISIONThe first thing to consider about TV content coming in 2019 is that there will be more. Literally, more content from more content-providers.Three new players are expected to enter the arena. Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox was the final brick in building Disney+, a new streaming service to launch in late 2019. Apple has spent about a billion dollars in creating original content in drama and comedy, much of it from established creators, to be launched in 2019. Warner Bros.  FULL STORY arrow
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Here comes holiday programming of joy, Royals and rabbits space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 22, 2018 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONFirst, important information for many of you: The Queen's Christmas Message airs on Tuesday, Christmas Day, at 10 a.m., on CBC News Network, noon on CBC TV and is repeated on CBC News Network, at 3 p.m. You may now be seated.  FULL STORY arrow
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Saturday, December 22, 2018 – Page R3
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-- One morning in January of this year, in a hotel ballroom near L.A., Roseanne Barr met a few dozen TV critics to talk up the revival of her sitcom Roseanne. It didn't go well. Surly and defensive, Barr engaged in passive-aggressive sniping at the critics.  FULL STORY arrow
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Farewell to CBC's Mr. D space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, December 19, 2018 – Page A16
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-- ''I m awesome!/No you're not, dude...'' That song by Spose was the perfect theme music for Mr. D (CBC, 9 p.m.) which ends its remarkable run tonight with a series-finale episode.  FULL STORY arrow
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Consider this: A classy drama about the brilliant Bronte sisters space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 18, 2018 – Page A15
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-- Let's shift away from silliness, shall we? There's a lot of it about, this time of the year, when substantive content is rare.So let's talk classy British drama. Literary drama, to be specific. First thing to do is consider BritBox, the streaming service established by the BBC and ITV for subscribers in the United States and Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Top Ten Most Irritating Canadians 2018 (TV-related) space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, December 17, 2018 – Page A17
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-- The Brother and the lads in his digs emerged from their lair recently to annoy me.There was an ill-mannered rata-tat-tat on my front door. I knew it was either the Brother or Doug Ford because my cat Rita, snugly ensconced on the windowsill and peering out, took off like a rocket. Rita can't stand Ford.  FULL STORY arrow
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Six unheralded TV gems you won't see on the best-of lists space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – Page A17
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-- Lists, lists and more lists. Where does it end, at this time of the year?Such is the mania, a person would be tempted to make lists of TV types that won't be missed. Like, say, Les Moonves, previously the big boss of CBS. Or Megyn Kelly, whose strange, tortured shift from Fox News to more mainstream NBC has ended with fraught negotiations about her exit. Eventually, she will take her views about blackface somewhere else. But for now, who can be missing her?  FULL STORY arrow
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HBO's Room 104 delivers short, strange wonders space
The anthology series' second season contains little masterpieces of concise storytelling
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 8, 2018 – Page A20
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-- One of my counterparts who writes about TV in the United States recently came up with a plan. He describes it as, ''A new, recurring set of recommendations based on how much, or how little, time you have to watch.'' It's a great plan. In answer to the persistent question, ''What should I watch?'' the key is whether the questioner wants to see 12 hours, just six episodes of under an hour, or a 30-minute drama. At this time of the year we're all too busy. Too little time to do all that's required in the preholiday period, and never enough time to indulge in contemplation or entertaining drama or comedy that is substantial rather than slight. Here's a suggestion.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is back with buckets of charm space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – Page A21
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-- Cast your mind back to the Emmy Awards in September. The most memorable part of the broadcast was Amy Sherman-Palladino, got up in her personal version of top hat and tails, making Emmy history for her wins in both comedy writing and directing, making her the first woman to do so.  FULL STORY arrow
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No mystery to McGregor: He's in it for the money space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – Page A16
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-- A local man appeared in court on the outskirts of Dublin last week to answer a charge of speeding.Local police said the defendant had been driving at 154 kilometres an hour in a 100 km/h zone. The judge gave the defendant, age 30, a short, stern lecture on the dangers of speeding, noted the man had 12 previous driving convictions dating back to his teenage years, then fined him 1,000 (about $1,500) and banned him from driving for six months.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is the conformity of holiday entertainment dangerous? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, December 3, 2018 – Page A15
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-- My plan is this: a small glass of dry sherry while I listen to my old Andy Williams and Perry Como albums. I might even indulge in some toe-tapping when Perry Como sings Papa Loves Mambo.  FULL STORY arrow
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Breaking down Brexit via British TV, soccer and Ireland space
Programs such as The Crown have made a fetish of the U.K.'s decline, and play upon nostalgia for an earlier, often imagined, time
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 28, 2018 – Page A15
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-- As I write this, and you read it, British Prime Minister Theresa May is traipsing around the U.K. trying to sell her Brexit deal to the great British public. Good luck with that. It is a truth as plain as a poke in your eye that the exit deal she's agreed on with the European Union has been universally condemned across political lines over there.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ford's terrible TV persona reveals he's no Trump space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 27, 2018 – Page A18
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-- It was a subdued Doug Ford who appeared in front of TV cameras on Monday morning.The Ontario Premier had to say something about General Motors Co. announcing a major restructuring and saying it will shut production at five facilities in North America, including Oshawa, Ont.  FULL STORY arrow
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Patriot: An unheralded gem of a mad, melancholy spy drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 26, 2018 – Page A19
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-- This era is called ''Peak TV'' for a reason. There's an insane amount of content. There are series, mini-series and one-off dramas and comedies here, there and everywhere. This period will end, eventually. There will be some cataclysmic shift, one big content provider will collapse and others will follow or remaining services will coalesce.  FULL STORY arrow
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A must-see masterpiece space
Dogs on Netflix stands as a complex portrait of families and individuals as we live now
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 24, 2018 – Page A20
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-- The girl, aged 11, looks directly into the camera with grave and guileless eyes.Around her, the pleasant activities of an American summer unfold. The kids playing on the grass rush, race, run, sprint, bolt and dart chasing a ball or each other.  FULL STORY arrow
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Trevor Noah's Netflix special is uniquely, fiercely funny and logical space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 22, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Our friends in the United States are celebrating their Thanksgiving and probably binge-watching Netflix. Many would benefit from an hour spent watching Trevor Noah's new stand-up special. So can we.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fox Nation: When tribal news gets more tribal space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 21, 2018 – Page A18
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-- As I write this on a Tuesday morning, Facebook is down. The joke going around online is that a massive data harvest went awry as Facebook prepped data for its advertisers and their Black Friday sales.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why The Little Drummer Girl is a perfect, explosive spy drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 19, 2018 – Page A20
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-- The cynical spymaster. The moral ambiguity. The sexual allure of the handsome fanatic. The betrayals. The tension. The forging of documents and of identities. The melancholy that comes with all that deceit.  FULL STORY arrow
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My Brilliant Friend might be the most exquisite drama of the year space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Page A20
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-- It is not a matter of life and death, as so much TV drama is.It is a matter of life as it is lived fully, expansively. It is a matter of life observed from youth amid constricting social conventions and then transcended through imagination and love.  FULL STORY arrow
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A gripping turn by Patricia Arquette is at the centre of this week's terrific TV space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 15, 2018 – Page A19
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-- It remains startling how much excellent, serious-minded TV content exists now.In the space of a few days, a long list of series, long or shortform, arrives. On Friday, The Kominsky Method and Narcos: Mexico (both already reviewed) arrive on Netflix. On Sunday, HBO unveils My Brilliant Friend (review coming Saturday), its adaptation of Elena Ferrante's acclaimed bestselling novel. Also on Sunday comes Showtime's star-studded Escape at Dannemora (see below). On Monday, AMC delivers its already-acclaimed-in-Britain adaptation of John le Carre's The Little Drummer Girl. A review of that will appear in Monday's paper and online earlier.  FULL STORY arrow
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We know how Narcos: Mexico ends. That's part of its power space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 – Page A20
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-- There is a short scene in the opening episode of Narcos: Mexico that reveals a great deal about the culture in which the drama is set. It lasts a minute or so, but the depths of the entire eight-part series are glimpsed.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's The Kominsky Method is wry, dry and recommended space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 – Page A17
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-- It's a packed week ahead, with a lot of big-ticket drama to review. So let's try to get ahead. But first a short detour.As constant readers are aware, this column has certain likes and dislikes.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why Netflix's talk shows fail space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 12, 2018 – Page A16
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-- Sometimes you need a bit. Just a bit to liven things up and take the focus away from always looking at the same darn thing. By ''bit'' I mean something like ''Amber Says What'' on Late Night with Seth Meyers, or ''Drunk Donald Trump'' on Jimmy Kimmel Live.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sally4Ever is macabre humour firing on all cylinders space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 10, 2018 – Page A20
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-- There's a man in England who celebrates Christmas every day. For years, he consumed turkey and Brussels sprouts daily but was advised to stop. He watches the Queen's speech every day and opens a gift he's wrapped for himself. He started doing this when his wife left him.  FULL STORY arrow
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Staring into the abyss: Midterm madness on U.S. news networks space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 – Page A19
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-- The other night, Saturday Night Live opened with a sketch parodying the scare-mongering by Fox News personalities about that migrant caravan. Kate McKinnon played Laura Ingraham and Cecily Strong was former judge Jeanine Pirro.  FULL STORY arrow
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House of Cards falls in its final season space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 5, 2018 – Page A17
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-- It is stating the obvious to say that a good deal of venomous rage and everyday misogyny is aimed at women in positions of power. Turn on the news any day of the week and you can see the evidence. Go online and you can quickly find yourself horrified by the rage.  FULL STORY arrow
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Homecoming: Come for the star, stay for the thrills space
While Julia Roberts plays the leading role, a counsellor for returning soldiers at a sinister facility, the show is not centred on her
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 3, 2018 – Page A20
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-- There has been inordinate coverage of Julia Roberts taking a role on the new Amazon Prime Video series Homecoming. It's an understandable publicity ploy but the same darn things are being said over and over: Roberts is one of the last movie stars to make the shift to prestige TV. The fact that she's doing it needs to be separated from the series itself and its merits.  FULL STORY arrow
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True love knows no season: Outlander's triumphant return space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 1, 2018 – Page A20
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-- The story, it must be acknowledged, is drenched in darkness, cruelty and betrayal. But the lamplight at its core is love. It is a romantic love but of a remarkably complex type. It is a relationship that actualizes humour, beauty, passion, tenderness and carnal desire.  FULL STORY arrow
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Frontline explores how Facebook has been weaponized space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 – Page A17
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-- We live in an age of social-media mayhem.Brad Parscale, the man who will be campaign manager for Donald Trump's 2020 re-election effort, knows all about the mayhem. Less well-known than such former Trump inner-circle figures as Steve Bannon and Corey Lewandowski, Parscale was digital director in the 2016 Trump campaign.  FULL STORY arrow
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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is a madhouse of ideas space
Netflix's latest original series is a taste of the bizarre and a treat for those who aren't normally interested in teenage witches
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 29, 2018 – Page A15
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-- It's perfectly possible you're not even a teensy bit interested in intra-witch wars played out by teenage girls. That's your choice, and your loss.One of the most heavily promoted and closely studied Netflix series in ages, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (streams from Oct. 26) is a madhouse of ideas, themes, surreal retro-vibe visuals and fabulous acting. In fact, it glitters with performances to savour. Even when the narrative is as wonky as a newborn kitten, there are lip-smacking turns by actors relishing the material.  FULL STORY arrow
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New Howards End is wistful and poignant space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – Page A20
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-- In this strange era, it might seem there's a reboot or a revival happening in TV every week, and it's all a mere fad. Not so.This weekend's highlight is a return to literary source material. There's nothing faddish about it.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gaelic's great awakening space
In the weekly series The Enthusiast, The Globe and Mail's arts writers offer a window into their private cultural lives: what they're watching, reading, seeing and listening to. This week, television critic John Doyle is awed by the pleasures and passions of a purportedly dying language
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 27, 2018 – Page R3
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-- In the biographical note that accompanies my work for this great newspaper, it says this: ''Always argumentative, John has the distinction of winning a gold medal, at the age of 10, for his debating skills in the Gaelic language.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Is Bill Maher the last sane man on U.S. talk shows? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 25, 2018 – Page A20
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-- One the most frightening hours of TV I've seen this year had nothing to do with ghouls, murder or mayhem. It was a talk show.An August episode of Real Time with Bill Maher (Fridays on HBO, 10 p.m. ET) had a robust panel of guests. They were Malcolm Nance, a former U.S. counterterrorism intelligence officer; Steve Schmidt, a former Republican strategist; Kristen Soltis Anderson, a columnist for The Washington Examiner; Charles Blow of The New York Times; and historian Nancy MacLean of Duke University. MacLean is the author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's Bodyguard is a bloody great British thriller space
The terse, twisted narrative has all the hallmarks of exquisitely crafted TV drama
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 – Page A16
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-- It starts with a long and excruciating scene. A guy on a train, late at night in England, is fussing over his two kids, trying to get them to sleep. But he's not sleepy.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Trumpian impulses behind TV's reboot fever space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 23, 2018 – Page A16
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-- There's a rumour going round that rapper Cardi B wants to star in a reboot of The Nanny. Reliable sources say Cardi B is ''in talks'' to play Fran Drescher's daughter in a revival of the early-nineties CBS sitcom.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC decides what's news - you and I just pay for it space
The network says it will air Murdoch Mysteries on Monday evening, and not the coverage of Toronto's mayoral race
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 22, 2018 – Page A15
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-- In the annals of peculiar CBC manoeuvres, the decision not to carry live TV coverage of Toronto's municipal-election results is not that notable. It's just typical.The other day, CBC TV made it clear that it will air Murdoch Mysteries and Frankie Drake Mysteries on Monday evening, as usual, in the Toronto region. It is certainly not going to pre-empt those masterpieces of mystery shenanigans to cover the results of the mayoral race and the first reduced-council election. If you want that kind of politics stuff, you can go online. That's where the action is, says CBC.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Romanoffs is not really a masterpiece, and that's fine space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 – Page A19
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-- We take for granted now the amount of quality material made for cable and streaming services. Too much so, I think.Certain series of the past two decades have become like sacred texts. They are studied closely, books are written about them and they influence creators and TV execs everywhere.  FULL STORY arrow
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Network TV's fight for the right space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 – Page A17
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-- Tuesday night is a big deal in the U.S. network-TV racket.The late arrivals in the new fall TV season finally land, and there's a lot at stake. Specifically, ''red state'' viewers.  FULL STORY arrow
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Without Roseanne, The Conners is just a lacklustre family sitcom space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 15, 2018 – Page A19
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-- It's just a TV sitcom continuing without the lead actor. The show must go on.That's showbiz. But this one is different. It's always different with Roseanne Barr, even when she's not there, on the show. The politics of it become toxic.  FULL STORY arrow
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After Girls, Lena Dunham has a Camping disaster space
The show, based on the British series of the same title, is not fun to watch at all
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 13, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Anything Lena Dunham does after Girls is going is get major attention. For several years, the era-defining series brought commensurate amounts of adulation and derision. Ms. Dunham's coming-ofage character, Hannah, was as compelling as she was irritatingly precious.  FULL STORY arrow
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Coates shines in Bad Blood's thoroughly enjoyable second season space
There's little fuzziness in this textured, Shakespearean tale that focuses on Vito Rizzuto's fixer after he takes control of Montreal
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 11, 2018 – Page A16
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-- The first season of Bad Blood was a solid Mafia/crimefamily docudrama, one that rose to achieve a thrilling confidence in storytelling once the minutiae of the real story was chronicled. It was based on the book Business or Blood: Mafia Boss Vito Rizzuto's Last War by Antonio Nicaso and Peter Edwards, and as such stuck mostly to the true material about Rizzuto's messy rise and fall as a crime boss controlling most of Montreal.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is lovely, pure nourishment space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 – Page A18
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-- We live in angry times. We are surrounded by and pummelled by, among other indignities, inaccuracy, overstatement and righteous indignation. And still, we have to eat.Shows about food should be a retreat from all that frenzy, but many are not. Competitive cooking shows are among the most manipulative and irritating in the reality-TV genre. Other food shows are more about narcissism or privilege, thus cheapening the experience for the viewer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's Elite is a Spanish teen drama with a blunt message space
Despite adhering to a familiar narrative, the murder mystery incorporates a serious social agenda
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 8, 2018 – Page A13
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-- One of the benefits arising from the existence of Netflix is the sheer volume of drama and comedy from outside North America that is easily available.As an example, if you haven't seen Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), a Spanish drama, you're really missing out on a unique take on the standard bank-heist format. It demolishes many of the cliches of heist movies and honours others, with a fair dollop of irony.  FULL STORY arrow
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The heartbreaking ninth season of The Walking Dead begins space
At this crucial juncture of the hit show, we can expect the Rick Grimes character to make his (likely fatal) exit
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 6, 2018 – Page A20
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-- It's the No. 1 show on TV. There was a dip in the ratings last season but here's the truth, courtesy of trade magazine Variety: ''The Walking Dead remains the number one show on television among adults 18-49 for the sixth season in a row.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Be aware of these anger-inducing stories of hate and malice space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 4, 2018 – Page A18
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-- Far be it from me to drag Shakespeare into the current craziness that is evident any time you turn on the TV news. But you can't go wrong with Shakespeare. Watching two recent documentaries about hate, I was put in mind of Horatio's description to Hamlet of the demeanour of his father's ghost: ''A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Keeping the faith: God lives on prime time space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Page A20
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-- So this guy, a character on a new CBS drama, gets a message on his phone: ''I found God. He's in Jersey!'' Immediately, the character heads for Jersey, determined to confront God.  FULL STORY arrow
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Trump's Showdown: At last, a coherent view of the turmoil space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 1, 2018 – Page A17
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-- ''Every day before 6 a.m. Bob Mueller comes into the garage, slips in, and witnesses come in through the garage. They're bringing in every single White House official they can. This is a sprawling, active investigation.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The horse: nature's human whisperer space
If the news has you down, some sessions with CBC documentary Equus provide timely distraction from life
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 29, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Gentle reader, there are times when this column is less a TV column than it is an advice column. It is less a matter of expertise in the matter of television content than it is directing you to a soothing balm. It cannot be a shoulder to cry on, but it can be a source of information about how to distract yourself from the awfulness of the everyday news and the indignities of mundane living.  FULL STORY arrow
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Televised hearings of Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh were a brutal, cruel contest of strength space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, September 28, 2018 – Page A13
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-- Sometimes, there is no underlying meaning, no theatrical artifice to deconstruct. There is only what is there.That's the way U.S. President Donald Trump thinks. We know from his own words and from many accounts by others that he believes strongly in the value of being forceful on TV. It's what matters most to him. He hires and fires, promotes and demotes on that basis.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Murphy Brown reboot comes at a trying time for the #MeToo movement space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 27, 2018 – Page A16
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-- Through one of those curious coincidences that the popular culture throws at us, the rebooted version of Murphy Brown starts on Thursday. Yes, the same day that on live TV U.S.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mr Inbetween: A marvellous tale of an ordinary thug space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 25, 2018 – Page A17
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-- You, me and the dogs on the street know there is too much good TV to keep up with.In the matter of the current crazy but delightful cornucopia, what we are witnessing is a strange amalgamation of commerce and boundless creative and intellectual endeavour. (Regrettably, much Canadian content can be excluded, but that's another endeavour to explore.) You need to be an indefatigable collector to stay on top of things. And that just isn't possible for most consumers, let alone connoisseurs. Things go unwatched, unloved. Allow me to point you in the direction of a small, largely unheralded show that truly deserves your attention.  FULL STORY arrow
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The big cultural baggage of The Big Bang Theory space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 24, 2018 – Page A16
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-- It ill behooves anyone to suggest that the oldfashioned sitcom is a dinosaur of an art form.Those shows made with three cameras, a live audience and canned laughter have never died.  FULL STORY arrow
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Maniac is humane, surreal and highly recommended space
Ambitious Netflix series on beauty and terror of modern life serves up exquisite performances
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 22, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Two lonely people, both half-destroyed. Yes, two lonely, addled people searching for peace, and escape from the destructiveness of the past. They intersect, connecting in a way that seems haphazard but fated.  FULL STORY arrow
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14 & Muslim: Eye-opening and complex space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 20, 2018 – Page A17
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-- Do yourself a favour and make a date to spend time with some teenagers on Friday evening.Guaranteed, it will be worth your time.14 and Muslim (Friday, CBC 9 p.m. on CBC Docs POV) is a gentle, touching and very illuminating documentary about a small group of Muslim teens in the Toronto area about to go from grade school to high school.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Emmys fail to reflect the very best of TV space
Based on the winners, it seems the awards go to the easily understood rather than the perplexingly brilliant
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – Page A15
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-- If NBC and the Television Academy were hoping that an awards show saturated with Saturday Night Live talent was going to boost ratings, they got a rude awakening on Tuesday morning.  FULL STORY arrow
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2018 Emmys: fun, frolics and heavy competition space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 17, 2018 – Page A16
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-- In the TV racket, speculation is rampant.Rampant, I tell you. Is it possible, the speculation goes, that The Handmaid's Tale could win an Emmy again for outstanding drama series? As a paid-up member of the Television Critics Association I will says this: Yes, it's entirely possible.  FULL STORY arrow
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A sweet, silly, breezy show about the basics of clothing space
Stitched, a competitive fashion-creation series, showcases real skill in a charming way
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 15, 2018 – Page A21
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-- It's an intermission weekend, that brief period just before the onslaught of new fall-TV content. So let's talk fall fashion.The return of plaid! Or, HandM is doing a line of clothing based on the work of William Morris, which makes a change from allowing some hack actor to design stuff.  FULL STORY arrow
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As the TV world changes, its trends adjust space
Police shows, medical dramas and literary adaptations are the three types of shows being made, but 11 stand out as special
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 15, 2018 – Page R6
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-- It's not an avalanche. It's a tsunami. Last year, about 500 scripted shows aired in the U.S. market across network, cable and streaming services. The idea of a fall TV schedule, a package comprising new and returning shows, still stands, but looks increasingly shaky. Yet it persists, as U.S. networks in particular stick to the belief that as soon as summer is over, the public's attention turns to TV content and there are avid consumers primed for comedy and drama.  FULL STORY arrow
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Complete Index of Today's Print Headlines
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