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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Thursday, April 19




  John Doyle
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Television



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A cult hit about what may or may not be a cult space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, April 19, 2018 – Page A15
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-- People of a certain age will remember the era. During the 1970s, there was a huge appetite for alternatives to the usual resources that might deal with depression, loneliness and general, common-or-garden, unhappiness.  FULL STORY arrow
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The only thing bigger than Netflix is the daily news space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, April 18, 2018 – Page A19
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-- The announcement on Monday was hardly a surprise. In the first quarter of 2018, Netflix added almost two million U.S. subscribers and yet more in other territories, beating its own estimates. The streaming company also posted quarterly earnings slightly above expectations.  FULL STORY arrow
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On Facebook: A tiny, minor and perfect drama space
Chateau Laurier is an impeccable slice of Canadiana - already viewed more than a million times
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, April 16, 2018 – Page A15
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-- There's a certain kind of Canadian TV content that people like. There's no denying it. The content is period-piece drama with a dose of comedy.There's always an emphasis on costumes and matters of social class and money. Pinafores might well be featured. There's usually a grumpy old person whose heart is melted by, you know, the sweetness and energy of youth. Somebody falls in love. Or maybe there's a long-standing attraction that goes unspoken.  FULL STORY arrow
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A family-friendly adventure void of political or social meaning space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, April 14, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Lost in Space (streams Netflix from Friday, April 13) starts with a crash landing on a planet that, geez, Louise, looks very much like British Columbia.And indeed it is B.C. that is masquerading as the planet on which the Robinson clan land.  FULL STORY arrow
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The National now: Confusing, well-meaning and maddening space
Viewers are unhappy about the flagship program's overhaul. One only needs to sit through a single bleak and exhausting hour to get an idea of why
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, April 14, 2018 – Page R3
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-- TELEVISIONReaders write to me about The National. That would be the usual thing if I write something about CBC's flagship newscast. But readers now write to me regularly about The National, not just in response to a column.  FULL STORY arrow
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A solid dose of British drama and daftness on Netflix space
The streaming service offers political thrills, gothic chills and a healthy helping of scatological laughs from across the pond
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, April 12, 2018 – Page A14
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-- The craving for British TV is unabated in Can ada. I get queries all the time about when and where a hit British show will turn up here. Often the answer is, I just don't know.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ice-man Zuckerberg, live on TV, pleads innocence space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 – Page A14
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-- He knows. He knows people loathe him. He knows and doesn't care, until he's forced to look like he cares.They made a movie about his life, The Social Network. It portrayed him as a nerdy tech guy driven by a need to connect with women. As if. It wasn't unkind, though. It ended with the Beatles singing Baby, You're a Rich Man.  FULL STORY arrow
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Rick Mercer embodies Canada, without the smugness space
The funnyman is going out on top with a successful formula that is rare in this country's TV programming
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, April 10, 2018 – Page A17
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-- On Tuesday, after 15 seasons and 277 episodes, The Rick Mercer Report will cease to be. There will be an hour-long episode (CBC, 8 p.m.) with highlights from across the years, and one last rant from Mercer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Trump doc chronicles his twisted ascent in Washington space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, April 9, 2018 – Page A16
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-- In the flurry of all-news cable coverage of the whirlwind that is the Trump presidency, the details get lost.It's hard to tell what's really going on when Fox News is busy claiming there's a caravan of immigrants about to storm the U.S. border, or is busy attacking Jimmy Kimmel for some wisecrack he made. And CNN is busy trying to help viewers connect the colourful, shady players who turn up in the Mueller investigation.  FULL STORY arrow
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A message to CBC's new president: Invest in gold space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, April 5, 2018 – Page A19
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-- Far be it from me to join the lineup of pundits offering advice and analysis to Catherine Tait, the incoming CBC president. But, in the matter of CBC English-language TV, there's an issue: Where's the great stuff?  FULL STORY arrow
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A stunningly powerful movie about an abuse scandal space
Paterno, HBO's tale of the disgraced Penn State coach, chronicles a failing institutional responsibility and the selfishness of old men
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, April 4, 2018 – Page A15
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-- One of the most powerful, unforgettable scenes broadcast in recent years was at the sentencing hearing for Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team physician convicted of sexually assaulting young athletes in his care. Numerous former gymnasts and Michigan State University athletes gave victim-impact statements accusing university staff of dismissing or ignoring their sexual-abuse complaints against Nassar.  FULL STORY arrow
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Steven Bochco was a revolutionary when network TV was ordinary space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, April 3, 2018 – Page A15
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-- The last time Steven Bochco appeared at the TV critics' press tour was in January, 2014, to introduce his series Murder in the First. The series, which airs on TNT in the United States and Bravo in Canada, is a middling-good cop drama, driven largely by the energy and skill of Canadian Kathleen Robertson in the lead role.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Child in Time is a harrowing portrayal of loss space
Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a father whose daughter disappears, leaving him on the cusp of collapse
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 31, 2018 – Page A18
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-- New and upcoming performances by Benedict Cumberbatch can be reported. The chap has a lot of followers. A lot.In May, Showtime will air the five-part series Patrick Melrose, based on the novels by Edward St. Aubyn. Cumberbatch, who also executive produces, stars as the self-destructive, addictionprone title character.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's Catwalk is possibly the greatest cat video ever space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, March 29, 2018 – Page A18
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-- Cats. Don't get me started. My cat, Rita, runs the house.Everything revolves around Rita. This is typical cat behaviour, as the whole world knows. She stashes Ping-Pong balls all over the joint.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Americans: Exquisite series ends with added relevance space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, March 28, 2018 – Page A15
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-- It's intriguing that the sixth and final season of The Americans (Wednesday, FX, 10 p.m.) should arrive just as staff from Russian embassies and consulates around the world are being expelled. And it's more than intriguing that this should all be the result of allegations of Russia's involvement in the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in England.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why you need to watch the Roseanne reboot space
The nine-episode comeback is not some phony, retro exercise - it aims to make viewers uncomfortable
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, March 27, 2018 – Page A14
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TELEVISION -- Here's an interesting fact about the original series Roseanne - while it was a No. 1 show in the United States, it never had quite the same intense following in Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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A spring TV bloom is right around the corner space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, March 15, 2018 – Page A17
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-- As I write this, there's a low, grey winter sky and wisps of snow blowing around. It's wintry. But spring is around the corner. And with it, a deluge of spring TV. The new and returning. The scintillating, the reboots and the radically different.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gervais's indignation takes centre stage in new special space
In comedian's first stand-up broadcast in seven years, he asserts, 'I don't care about the backlash' - but clearly, he does
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, March 14, 2018 – Page A16
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-- The other day, Ricky Gervais told a British newspaper that he was rather disappointed he hadn't been asked to host the Golden Globe Awards this year. But, if he had done the gig, he would ''probably still have to be in hiding now.''  FULL STORY arrow
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A nice but hopeless, unfunny event space
Gala honouring the best in Canadian film and television made for a sincere, interminable and amateurish watch
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, March 13, 2018 – Page A15
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-- You know what's nice? I'll tell you what's nice: The Canadian Screen Awards.That's what's nice. Very nice, very smug and boring, long-winded and hopeless.  FULL STORY arrow
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Obama on Netflix? That's the Netflix bloat, right there space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, March 12, 2018 – Page A18
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-- Two things happened on Friday in the eternally loopy world of TV, specifically Netflix-related.First, there was a news report that Barack and Michelle Obama are in advanced talks to provide or guide content for Netflix. Second, shares of Netflix hit an all-time high on the New York Stock Exchange. According to Barron's, ''Netflix's stock climbed 3 per cent in midmorning trading, to [US]$326.61. For the year, they're up nearly 69 per cent.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Jessica Jones is still a fierce feminist thriller space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 10, 2018 – Page A18
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-- TELEVISIONThere's a guy, kind of cocky, who wants to buy Jessica Jones's little company, Alias Investigations. ''I never take no for an answer,'' he says. Jessica looks at him coolly and replies, ''How rapey of you.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Present day Canadian TV: Squeezing out a few good ones space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – Page A19
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-- Awards season isn't over. Not in this neck of the woods. It's Canadian Screen Awards Week. Days and days of shindigs for this and that, mostly in the TV racket. On Sunday, the big awards gala airs live on CBC. Let's assess.  FULL STORY arrow
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Silence and shunning on the red carpet space
TV viewers witness the excruciating near isolation of Seacrest following allegations of sexual misconduct
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – Page A15
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-- All changed but not utterly on the live red-carpet coverage, pre-Academy Awards, on TV on Sunday.What was anticipated as a possible new #MeToo moment turned out to be just that - the excruciating near isolation of Ryan Seacrest, the E! interviewer renowned for his ability to schmooze cheerfully with the arriving stars. Most top stars avoided him, heading instead for ABC's red-carpet interviewers. It was all loaded with meaning, as the cool people, the important up-and-comers and established stars left Hollywood's premier chit-chat man almost alone and palely loitering.  FULL STORY arrow
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Call My Agent! is a gem about showbiz strangeness space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, March 5, 2018 – Page A15
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-- There are certain things you learn when you cover the entertainment racket for more than the length of a TV season. You learn that many actors aren't all that interesting.  FULL STORY arrow
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Oscars red carpet confronts a #MeToo reckoning space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, March 3, 2018 – Page A20
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-- When did the frock opera become fraught?The Academy Awards (Sunday, ABC, CTV, 8 p.m.) is the biggest night for movies and the climax of an awards season. That season is longer than usual this year because the Winter Olympics pushed back the preferred February air date. It's mainly been a TV event, really, for years.  FULL STORY arrow
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A rockin' raucous gem of a serious comedy space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, March 1, 2018 – Page A17
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-- It's an old idea but usually a promising one - a down-onhis-luck boxer sets out on the comeback trail.That's the gist of Little Dog (starts Thursday, 9 p.m. on CBC with two episodes) and it has a clean, raw vivacity, made even more enjoyable by a large injection of rough Newfoundland humour. This is very much a rollicking, bawdy Newfoundland drama-comedy made with characteristic vigour and equally characteristic absurdity. It is, in the context of a wave of bland midseason TV, a breath of fresh air.  FULL STORY arrow
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Diversity, what diversity? Entertainment industry biases space
It seems as though U.S. network TV has made strides in diversity, but behind the scenes, women and minorities remain shockingly underrepresented
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 – Page A17
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-- In a week when the Academy Awards unfold, with the #OscarsSoWhite controversy seeming long past and with the movie Black Panther heading toward Star Wars-type box-office numbers, along comes the bad news: the reality check.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's big, splashy Caught is one splendid, sizzling thriller space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 26, 2018 – Page A17
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-- During the Olympics, CBC gave heavy promotion to its new mini-series Caught.The flashy ads were everywhere.The wailing Creedence Clearwater Revival music, handsome fellas in undone shirts, sultry women in bikinis in a sunny setting and Paul Gross muttering something.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix drama has learned from its predecessors space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 24, 2018 – Page A20
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-- The latest Netflix drama to arrive is one of the streaming service's most sober depictions of the United States today. It is unflashy, disturbingly grey in its palette and bleak. At the same time, it's a grim, gripping thriller made with great care and skill.  FULL STORY arrow
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All clichés apply at these strange Olympics space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 22, 2018 – Page A21
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-- After a breakfast of pumpkin pie and oranges, the Brother and the lads got down to business. Olympic business. Eighteen days of curling. Twelve nights of speed skating. And what appears to be a hundred days of figure skating.  FULL STORY arrow
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Even fools know what the Olympics tell us about Canada space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 21, 2018 – Page A19
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-- The Brother and lads in his digs take a dim view of the audio quality in CBC's coverage of figure skating.''It's tinny,'' the Brother declared on Sunday night. ''It's like listening to someone's sad little mini-tape recorder played over the phone to you. I mean, seriously, I'd rather hear the music when Tessa and Scott dance than listen to Kurt Browning chirping away about the intricacies of putting your left leg out and your right leg in.  FULL STORY arrow
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It's a bloody big deal - BritBox lands in Canada space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 19, 2018 – Page A16
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-- They never end, the shifting and twisting turns in the TV landscape these days.No sooner has everyone got used to Netflix and the bewildering array of programming from here, there and everywhere, but another streaming service arrives. More content, more choices and still, for a lot of viewers, it isn't enough. Where, for instance, is that new British mystery that got a rave review in British papers last week? Where oh where, my dears, could it possibly be?  FULL STORY arrow
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Rebels on Pointe is a sharp story about masculinity and femininity space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 17, 2018 – Page A22
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-- With the Olympics in full swing, certain issues are put in perspective.On display are force and possibilities of physical contest and the meaning of the Olympic motto, ''faster, higher, stronger.'' And in a now-notorious blog post, the executive editor of Fox News sarcastically wrote that the U.S. Olympic Committee was trying to change that motto from ''Faster, Higher, Stronger'' to ''Darker, Gayer, Different.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Three big shows echo state-of-America drama space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 10, 2018 – Page A20
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-- If you can drag yourself away from figure skating, snowboarding, alpine skiing and the giant-slalom final, there are two big new series and one returning dazzler this weekend.They all have booming echoes of the divisive, politically charged United States we look at in awe these days.  FULL STORY arrow
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Must we remember this? space
Welcome or not, the fad of resurrecting old network favourites is as savvy as it is misguidedly wistful for a generation past
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 10, 2018 – Page R1
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-- The list of TV reboots keeps growing - The X-Files, Roseanne, Will and Grace, Murphy Brown, American Idol and Charmed. And that's just a few from U.S. network TV.  FULL STORY arrow
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Olympic opening ceremony on TV: A dubious rallying cry for harmony space
The joint Korean spectacle was dazzling and not at all subtle in its symbolism, but Canada's broadcasters found new ways to state the obvious
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 10, 2018 – Page S2
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-- Harmony. It's all about harmony.The Winter Olympics are all about harmony.So we were told over and over by CBC commentators and by the TV commercials during the televised opening ceremonies on Friday morning. Cockles of the heart were warmed, no doubt.  FULL STORY arrow
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The problem of Winter Olympics coverage starts here space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 8, 2018 – Page A18
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-- The Brother and the lads in his digs emerged from their lair in Etobicoke recently to annoy me.As long-time readers will be aware, the Brother was last located on the outskirts of Vancouver, living in a tree house. He was involved with a young woman whose father knew he was entirely unsuitable and grudgingly allowed him to live up the tree on his property. Now, he's back in this neck of the woods.  FULL STORY arrow
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A lovely, surreal journey into the world of drummers space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, February 7, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Hey, did you hear about the drummer who finished high school? Me neither.Drummers. The subject of jokes and gibes going back yonks. Me, I've never been in a band but when I was young and foolish I lived in a house where several fellas were in a rock ''n' roll outfit. On weekends the rest of us would help haul the equipment into some grotty bar. The drum kit, mostly. The drummer in the band was formidably lazy. He was always calling on the band to take a break, get a beer and chill. They rolled their eyes. We all did.  FULL STORY arrow
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Make America gay again: The return of Queer Eye space
The Netflix iteration is fun and occasionally a little fraught, as is so much in the culture these days
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, February 6, 2018 – Page A15
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-- Here's a sad but important truth: You have to be of a certain age to truly understand what's going on in the popular culture. See, things go around and come around again.  FULL STORY arrow
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The saddest circus: memo madness on TV space
With the release of the GOP take on 'surveillance abuses,' news shows have sent in the clowns
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, February 5, 2018 – Page A15
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-- And so it happened, live on TV. U.S. Republicans on Friday released the disputed, erstwhile classified memo that they say shows ''surveillance abuses'' in the FBI's investigation into the Trump election campaign and Russia. Donald Trump put it out there because, well, go figure.  FULL STORY arrow
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An ideal alternative to Super Bowl shenanigans space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, February 3, 2018 – Page A20
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-- Ah yes, Super Bowl weekend. The smell of beer, chips and dip. The angst that comes with not giving a flying nacho about the action or the outcome.Then of course there's the nerdy matter of caring deeply about the Super Bowl ads. This year, again, Canadians get to see them, to the chagrin of Bell Media, which went to the Supreme Court to have that CRTC decision overturned, and the court rejected that request.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's bonkers and beguiling new family space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, February 1, 2018 – Page A17
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-- So, you know that story about the pot-edibles-eating Toronto police officers?Yep, the one about the officers suspended for allegedly consuming marijuana on the job, going all wiggy, one getting stuck up a tree and the other calling for backup, and an officer who arrived to help requiring medical attention for slipping on ice. That's a helluva silly story, not just a stoner story. Keep it in mind when you sample one of the most peculiar, bracing and formidably charming series CBC TV has done in years.  FULL STORY arrow
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The National and its evolution - still strangely unengaged space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 – Page A19
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-- TELEVISIONLast week, writing an online piece about the TV spectacle that was former Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown's press conference, I was in error about CBC's The National coverage.  FULL STORY arrow
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Him and her: Rose McGowan counters the State of the Union space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 – Page A16
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-- There are no coincidences. There is only the conflations of things - incidents, attitudes, reverberations becoming real and pushing someone or something forward. Cultural movements and revolutions are messy, hard to decipher in real time.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Grammy Awards at 60: What mad larks space
The show will take place in New York - and organizers are finding, to no one's amazement, the city is expensive
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Saturday, January 27, 2018 – Page A20
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-- TELEVISIONYou gotta feel sorry for the Grammy Awards (Sunday, CBS, City 7:30 p.m.)Kidding. No, you don't actually. But the people who put it all together are crying poor. See, for the first time since 2003, the Grammys, now at its 60th anniversary, will be in New York. At Madison Square Garden, to be specific.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gripping stories in Netflix's Dirty Money space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 25, 2018 – Page A14
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-- I read last year that most Americans don't understand what ''money laundering'' actually means.This should concern those persons expecting Robert Mueller's investigation will make major, damaging assertions about the Trump campaign. You see, possibly there is no firm proof of collusion.  FULL STORY arrow
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Media hatred: How long before the messengers are actually killed? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 – Page A12
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-- On Sunday, excerpts from the new book Media Madness: Donald Trump, the Press, and the War Over the Truth by Howard Kurtz - a media analyst at Fox News - were published. On Tuesday, CNN reported that a Michigan man was arrested last week after he allegedly called CNN several times, threatening to kill employees.  FULL STORY arrow
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Vice never belonged on TV; Rogers got taken for a ride space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 23, 2018 – Page A14
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-- So farewell, then, Viceland.We hardly knew you.The announcement on Monday that Rogers Media is ending its financial relationship - read: sugar-daddy arrangement - with Vice and that the Viceland channel will cease to operate as a TV channel on March 31, struck nobody like a thunderbolt. It was always going to end like this.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Open House: A singular entry in the creepy-house genre space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 22, 2018 – Page A14
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-- There are times when it's all too much, right? The complexities of so much TV drama and the demands put on your already tired brain. That's why you watch old sitcoms on Netflix, and that's why there are seven episodes of The Big Bang Theory on the Comedy Network most nights of the week.  FULL STORY arrow
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The pointless struggle of mainstream TV to reflect the real America space
From S.W.A.T. to Star Trek, network television is offering the illusion of progress, but it looks like truly challenging storytelling might be long gone from basic cable
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 20, 2018 – Page R3
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-- A lot of mainstream U.S. TV is simply escapism. Most series on traditional broadcast networks follow templates. The letters in ''CBS'' could stand for ''crimes being solved,'' such is their devotion to eccentric geniuses who help out the cops with crime solving. ABC has a lot of family comedies. Across the networks there is a saturation of music talent shows.  FULL STORY arrow
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The season's first great thriller has already arrived space
Gripping and well-made series stars J.K. Simmons in a double role - and he's wonderful
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 20, 2018 – Page A18
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-- One of the best, most intriguing, gripping and well-made dramas of the new year starts this weekend. And it features what is, even this early in 2018, one of the truly outstanding performances.  FULL STORY arrow
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YouTube's TV content is for the young and restless only space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 17, 2018 – Page A19
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PASADENA, CALIF. -- ''Fish where the fish are. This strategy continues to be the foundation of our programming efforts.'' That's what Susanne Daniels, global head of original content for YouTube, says about the internet giant's TV strategy.  FULL STORY arrow
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True crime is back in fashion space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 – Page A14
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PASADENA, CALIF. -- ''It was a political murder. It absolutely was. This was a person who targeted people specifically to shame them and to out them and to have a form of payback for a life that he felt he could not live.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Our fascination with the wealthy is dangerous space
The fabric of society falls apart the more we deify the rich elite in entertainment
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 15, 2018 – Page A13
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PASADENA, CALIF. -- What's up with this fascination with the very, very rich for our entertainment? It's a fair question and especially piquant here at the centre of the entertainment industry.  FULL STORY arrow
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Powerful portraits of faith and humour space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 13, 2018 – Page A21
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-- There exists a vast array of shows, usually lame comedies, about stand-up comedians: Their life, the business of trying to be funny for a living and the difference between life and life-as-a-joke. Ten-a-penny stuff.  FULL STORY arrow
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McGOWAN HAS A 'MONSTER' space
The actor comes out swinging on the Weinstein scandal, its repercussions and addressing it on a Kardashian-style docu-series
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 11, 2018 – Page A12
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PASADENA, CALIF. -- Rose McGowan talks in slogans. ''I scare because I care,'' she says, using a line from the movie Monsters, Inc.''I don't respect those who don't respect,'' she says, too.  FULL STORY arrow
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Meet pro-Trump Roseanne Barr and her rebooted show space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 – Page A14
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-- It's complicated, that's what it is. It would be very inappropriate to say that Roseanne Barr is difficult. So let's say the situation is very, very complicated.  FULL STORY arrow
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No fatigue with Trump humour, Stephen Colbert says space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, January 9, 2018 – Page A13
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PASADENA, CALIF. -- ''I love my country more than I love a good joke,'' Stephen Colbert says.On a sleepy Saturday here at the TV critics press tour, a day on which CBS presented more of its formulaic crime procedurals, Colbert arrived and injected some hilarity and savagery about the bizarre political climate of the Trump era.  FULL STORY arrow
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The TV exec: A tough job, getting tougher space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, January 8, 2018 – Page A12
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-- Being a TV executive sounds like a dream job. Even yours truly, the TV critic, used to think it sounded peachy.The power to create content, to make or break careers, to change lives and change how viewers interpret the world.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Chi is a major new drama, Electric Dreams not so much space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, January 6, 2018 – Page A20
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-- One week into January and the important new series are now rolling out. There are two major debuts this weekend. One is a finely detailed, dramatic documentation of life in Chicago's South Side and it aims for sharp sociological insight. The other is meant to be a mindbender anthology of Phillip K.  FULL STORY arrow
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The End of the F***ing World: U.K.'s strange, terrifying and touching export space
Bleak comedy about troubled teens forming a twisted - but maybe meaningful - bond makes its Netflix debut
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, January 4, 2018 – Page A14
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-- It's a little half-hour show about two unhappy teenagers. One's a boy, one's a girl. They go on a road trip.What could possibly be controversial?  FULL STORY arrow
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Season 2 of Cardinal is solid, but lacks searing sensibility space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 – Page A16
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-- Hello and happy New Year. One always hopes to start a new year on solid footing and with optimism. Well, you can't have everything.The second season of Cardinal (starts Thursday, CTV, 10 p.m.) begins on solid footing and has a great deal of goodwill behind it, the first season being so darn good. Based on Giles Blunt's excellent 2000 novel, Forty Words for Sorrow, but subtly straying from the novel's conventional ending, the six-part drama was an austere, quietly intense murder mystery anchored in the slow revealing of the two main characters. Those were cops John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse) working together but also against each other, on a serial-killer case in a place called Algonquin Bay, Blunt's version of North Bay, Ont.  FULL STORY arrow
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For 2018, five series that set the bar high space
True Detective's original maestro returns to the small screen, Ryan Murphy delves into another American Crime Story and Trailer Park Boys' creator serves up a fresh dose of crass Canadian comedy
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 30, 2017 – Page R6
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-- Nobody is precocious enough to predict how television will play out in the political and social context of 2018. The book business, one reads, will lean toward the personal and deeply intimate, celebrating the self. Television is more likely to embrace the big, broad themes of our times and to stir debate and controversy, being matchless in its connection to the frisson of now. Herewith, five likely contenders for high entertainment and hot-topic acrimony.  FULL STORY arrow
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The weirdest, most wonderful year in TV space
In 2017, television echoed the tumult of the Trump era and reflected the feminist sea change. These 12 shows were the highlights
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 23, 2017 – Page R7
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-- TELEVISION ow weird was that? The year in television was H one vast and often chaotic canvas, reflecting and illuminating the world from which it is wrought.It was a year in which escapism was elusive. It began with the inauguration of Donald Trump and ended with women changing the entertainment world in a revolution from within.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ten things to consume in binges or bites over the holidays space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 23, 2017 – Page A20
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-- Settle down, settle in and enjoy the comforts of home and family. That's the holidays for the fortunate. A lot of TV is consumed over the next while, on streaming services, online or the old-fashioned way. In fact, Jan. 1 is the day that often has more people using streaming services and conventional TV than any other day of the year.  FULL STORY arrow
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The end is nigh for what we see now space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, December 20, 2017 – Page A21
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-- Let's move forward, shall we? Who doesn't want this year of toxicity to end?Well, let's say we're looking forward but there is no guarantee that next year will be better than the last.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ten things about television that must be stopped space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 19, 2017 – Page A15
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-- TELEVISIONExcuse my rant. On the weekend, I went to Canadian Tire, you see. A bit of shopping.It was soul-destroying. It's wrong of me to be negative. I know that. It's un-Canadian and I'm working on it, I swear.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gunpowder: a dark, enraged chapter in English history space
As far from The Crown as television gets, new drama unflinchingly treats viewers to gruesome displays of barbarity
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, December 18, 2017 – Page A15
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-- If you have binged on The Crown or tired of it, there's a new BBC/HBO drama about the English monarchy and related matters you might consider consuming. Heck, it even has a superhandsome chap from Game of Thrones in a prominent role.  FULL STORY arrow
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Wormwood is a totally strange true-crime saga space
New Netflix series is one of the most tangled stories documentarian Errol Morris has told
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 16, 2017 – Page A20
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-- In 1953, Frank Olson, a scientist and family man who worked for a mysterious arm of the CIA, jumped out a hotel window to his death in New York City.  FULL STORY arrow
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The best of 2017 space
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By ALEX BOZIKOVIC, JOHN DOYLE, ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN, BARRY HERTZ, SIMON HOUPT, MARSHA LEDERMAN, J. KELLY NESTRUCK, KATE TAYLOR, BRAD WHEELER
Saturday, December 16, 2017 – Page R6
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-- KENT MONKMAN: SHAME AND PREJUDICE: A STORY OF RESILIENCE, UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO ART CENTREMonkman, a singular artist, turned the conventions of European history painting on Canada's past, to devastating effect. The exhibition combined a heartbreaking array of archival objects with Monkman's narratively rich, nuanced and blackly funny canvases. A necessary corrective to the year's sesquicentennial jingoism and a lot more interesting.  FULL STORY arrow
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Round 2 of Trump's sexual-misconduct battle space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 12, 2017 – Page A17
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-- The October revolution, for that is what it was, started in print.The New York Times and The New Yorker published damning stories about Harvey Weinstein's behaviour. Since then, numerous powerful men in entertainment, media and politics have been fired or stripped of their power.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Crown slips into silly escapist eye candy space
Season 2 has receded into soap-opera territory, losing its subtlety in the process
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 9, 2017 – Page A20
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-- The first season of Netflix's lavishly made The Crown, a slow-moving about the present Queen, was biopic an impressive feat. Every dollar of the reported $130-million (U.S.) spent on it was there, in full view. It was visually stunning, yet rooted in the story of this one privileged but beleaguered young woman becoming Queen and learning to cope with the burden.  FULL STORY arrow
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Heft, beauty and history in this Jewish Christmas space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, December 7, 2017 – Page A21
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-- TELEVISION n the annals of annual comI plaints, this one is probably the least substantial - the whining and groaning about Christmas music being played too early in stores and malls. Our lives are truly lacking in distress and discomfort if that's as bad as it gets.  FULL STORY arrow
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New series Happy! is bonkers - just like our reality space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, December 6, 2017 – Page A21
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-- Exactly how Canadian specialty channels choose their menu of imported series from U.S. cable and streaming services is a great mystery. Always, there are several acclaimed series that are unavailable in Canada.  FULL STORY arrow
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Comedy gets harder by the day space
Staying funny is hard work for writers and actors, as personal taste, social climates change
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 – Page A16
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-- TELEVISIONIt is unknown who, exactly, coined the phrase, ''Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.'' But the truth of it remains constant.Tragedy is easier work than staying funny.Tastes change and political and social climates change.  FULL STORY arrow
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New Netflix drama Dark is a beautiful, bleak thriller space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, December 4, 2017 – Page A17
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-- TELEVISIONIt is easy to see why the new Netflix drama Dark (now streaming) was chosen to feature at the Toronto International Film Festival in September. It looks stunning.The 10-part thriller, in German with English subtitles - there's also a dubbed version available - is visually rich, textured and gloomily gorgeous. And gloom is at the heart of much of it. It is aptly titled, since it's essentially about a grim sense of hushed alarm that something has gone wrong in a small community, and while there are clues everywhere about the source of the malevolence, there is futility in fighting it.  FULL STORY arrow
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A Christmas Fury is a new cracked and crazy holiday classic space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, December 2, 2017 – Page A20
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TELEVISION -- They're here. Of course they bloody well are. The Christmas specials, the holiday-themed dramas and romances. There are loads of them. They're all about families reuniting or some sour, selfabsorbed twit getting a sudden dose of the true meaning of generosity and giving. Or some lonely woman finding romance, usually with a handsome widower got up in a tweed jacket.  FULL STORY arrow
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Suddenly, Vice content seems tone-deaf and terribly male space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 – Page L1
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-- You gotta wonder about Vice. Now an enormous multinational media company, it has so many platforms it gets bewildering.It makes and offers a lot of what is best described as infomercials. Just a high-end variation on those mind-numbing, hour-length commercials that take up a lot of time on traditional TV late at night. Vice is, however, selling cool stuff. To millennials and hipsters, mostly.  FULL STORY arrow
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Sweet fun and comfort in Amore al Dente space
The little wisp of a series chronicles the love story of a girl and a boy who eat their way through classic Italian cuisine
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 27, 2017 – Page L2
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-- The heart sinks almost daily at the endless stream of news about obnoxious behaviour and worse - and when the heart is sinking, it needs a lifeboat.That lifeboat is comfort in the familiar and the cozy. Many people take to consuming cooking shows and the like. This is a form of Hygge, the Danish and Norwegian word for the condition of contentment that arises from taking solace in the snug, the soft and the familiar. In Europe, seeking that Hygge is a whole thing.  FULL STORY arrow
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Skinhead: A portrait of Canada's far right space
Alternately illuminating and unsatisfying doc confronts white supremacy in the Trump age through the lens of a former neo-Nazi
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 25, 2017 – Page R6
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-- These days it can feel as though we're under siege from one bombshell story after another. What was last week's troubling development is gone. The threads are hard to pick up again and it is increasingly difficult to stitch it all together.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ireland's divorce referendum space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, November 24, 2017 – Page A2
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A breezy yet serious-minded take on urban life and love space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 23, 2017 – Page L1
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-- The first time I saw Spike Lee's movie She's Gotta Have It was in 1986 at what was then called the Festival of Festivals and later became TIFF.  FULL STORY arrow
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Gentlemen of Hollywood, your tool does not impress space
Poisonous toxic masculinity and its obsession with a particular anatomical part play out in seemingly benign TV moments as well
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Let us now name famous men who are alleged to have engaged in masturbating in front of women - Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K. and James Toback. There might be more.  FULL STORY arrow
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Is Apple's entry into TV content the end of everything good? space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Just when you think there's too much television content, there's more.Earlier this month, Apple formally announced that it would be making two original scripted series.One isn't exactly original. It's a revival of the Steven Spielberg-produced anthology series Amazing Stories. The second is, however, definitely new and an indication that Apple plans to spend big, attract known stars and make a very noisy entry into the TV-content business.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's new Godless is a brave western space
Six-part show is a distinctively serious, slow-moving twist on the genre while still retaining the essentials
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 20, 2017 – Page L2
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-- If you're the sort who wants regular hits of fast action or thrilling twists in your Netflix binging, you're not going to get a lot of that satisfaction in its latest original drama.  FULL STORY arrow
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A U.K. drama as steamy as it is woebegone space
Emily Watson stars in BBC's erotic four-part thriller Apple Tree Yard, which turns out to be one of the year's most disturbing series
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 18, 2017 – Page R6
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-- ''Before I met you I was a civilized woman. Civilized. Now I don't even know what that means.''Those are the first words spoken by Dr. Yvonne Carmichael, a middleaged scientist and mother. When she says that, she is on her way to court, on trial for murder, and in her head she is speaking to her lover.  FULL STORY arrow
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Click, click, click: Three hot Canadian online shows space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 16, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Let's go online. Not to gawk at Instagram pictures or gag at the insults being thrown around, but to watch actual comedy and drama content.Recently, in some undoubtedly complicated manoeuvre, the Canadian Media Fund and YouTube launched the online channel Encore+. It offers a small treasure chest of old-ish Canadian drama and comedy series, plus some miniseries and feature films.  FULL STORY arrow
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SMILF: A small, intimate show and typical of top TV right now space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 15, 2017 – Page L1
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-- There is just so much television content. The material that breaks through the clutter is, sometimes, the big-budget, high-concept, star-driven series and sometimes it is the small, almost hand-crafted series that, with an authentic, idiosyncratic take on life and the world as it is - not the world as seen on formulaic TV - resonates softly but memorably.  FULL STORY arrow
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Mohawk Girls: 'You ladies are awesome!' space
The final season of this triumphant Canadian drama carries to a conclusion the gutsy, imaginative spirit it started with
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 14, 2017 – Page L2
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-- The characters on Mohawk Girls are a bacchanalian bunch.There's a lot of drunken revelry.There is also sensitivity, humour and a kind of honest rawness you rarely see on Canadian drama or comedy. The series has been like that from the start - gutsy, funny and important.  FULL STORY arrow
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Meet The National's new Max Headroom format space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 11, 2017 – Page R1
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-- Here's an odd and ironic thing. When I recorded CBC's The National this week on my PVR, the on-screen icon for the recording was a photo of Peter Mansbridge.  FULL STORY arrow
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Acceptable Risk is a first-rate, fine Scandinavian-style thriller space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 9, 2017 – Page L1
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-- There's a reason why big pharmaceutical companies regularly turn up as villainous corporate monsters in thrillers. They keep doing terrible things and while some are found out and fined tens of millions of dollars, others continue with their nefarious practices. We are alert to being suspicious.  FULL STORY arrow
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A dead show walking space
The Walking Dead, despite its continued status as a ratings juggernaut, is a series in serious decline
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 – Page L2
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-- If you want to buy commercials on U.S. TV, the most expensive show is Sunday Night Football. Yes, even after a small dip in the ratings, the NFL's Sunday showcase tops the list.  FULL STORY arrow
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CBC's Frankie Drake Mysteries is a hoot space
While the series may have Murdoch-Mystery ties, here it's done with more of a wink and mischievous nod to the viewer
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, November 6, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Attention Murdoch Mysteries fans, there's a new detective on CBC and this one is better dressed and more adept with the cutting wit. Oh, it's all still set in the Toronto of the past so there's that comfort factor if you like the cozy period-piece shows. But this new detective is all wisecracks and fab outfits. No Murdoch melancholy here.  FULL STORY arrow
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A chilling masterpiece on sex and power space
In its second season, The Girlfriend Experience explores the politics of desire through an often unsettling perspective
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, November 4, 2017 – Page R9
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-- If you want a hard imagining of the politics of sex, there are few territories that might seem as unrewarding as that of sex and politics.Movies and TV are filled with conventional, cautionary tales. The politician is male, he is weak and he succumbs to desire or uses his power to seduce and lessons are learned about weakness.  FULL STORY arrow
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Ending House of Cards is the best disruption space
Netflix is not only a disturber of traditional TV and film, but also of old ideas about what is acceptable in the industry
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, November 2, 2017 – Page L4
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-- It's plausible that Netflix meant to end House of Cards after its upcoming sixth season. The series has run its course and the fifth season had much less impact than previous outings. It's also plausible that Netflix would want to keep the series alive, attaching sentimental significance to it because the series made the streaming service a player in this golden age of TV drama.  FULL STORY arrow
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Major ingredients missing in CBC's Great Canadian Baking Show space
The much-hyped version of the British series is lacking eccentric flair and idiosyncratic contestants
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, November 1, 2017 – Page L2
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-- It's getting fierce wintry in this neck of the woods. Overcoats are being worn in the streets. The trees resemble Canadian cultural policy - pretty colours to look at, then lifeless. Soon, the clocks will go back and people will be, you know, ''SAD.''  FULL STORY arrow
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The gender pay gap and Harvey Weinstein space
In Hollywood, until women are paid as much as men it will be hard to rebuff predatory and exploitative behaviour
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – Page L2
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-- There's another way to extrapolate significance from the reverberations accruing from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and it's about this: Money.As many pundits have told us, sexual harassment is often about power and subordination and money is - as we all know - emphatically about power. As long as women are paid less than men in Hollywood they have less power.  FULL STORY arrow
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Meet Edgar Allan Poe, creator of modern horror, warts and all space
American Masters special attempts to redefine the man, separate from his short stories and poetry
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 30, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Some of you may remember The Following, an initially thrilling crime drama on Fox that aired for three seasons from 2013 onward. In it, James Purefoy plays Joe Carroll, a seductive serial killer who amasses a cult following to do his evil bidding.  FULL STORY arrow
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A league of their own space
Gwendolyn Oxenham's book about women's soccer is an essential read for fans of the beautiful game
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 28, 2017 – Page R13
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-- Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women's Soccer By Gwendolyn Oxenham, Icon Books, 272 pages, $32.50Early in Under the Lights and in the Dark, Gwendolyn Oxenham's essential book about women's soccer, the author recounts a story that makes the hair stand up on your head. It's about an American player.  FULL STORY arrow
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A searing account of the battle for Mosul space
Extraordinary documentary follows four Iraqi soldiers in the long, bloody fight to regain the city from IS without losing themselves
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Tuesday, October 17, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Consumed as we are by the local news and the latest about NAFTA or Trump, some conflicts fall off the radar. Few are talking now about Iraq and the retaking of areas once held by the Islamic State. It unfolds, it's over there, and best not to think about it is the gist.  FULL STORY arrow
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Complete Index of Today's Print Headlines
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