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GiveLife.ca

    
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PRINT EDITION
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Globe Columnists
Sunday, February 18




  John Doyle
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Television



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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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By JOHN DOYLE
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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By JOHN DOYLE
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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Rebooted Dynasty is camp, but less fabulous space
The blast-from-the-past soap revival is nutty and nastily cheap - and is bizarrely entertaining and wacko for 15 minutes
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 16, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Of all the possible shows to be revived and rebooted for the contemporary era, that old, overthe-top soap Dynasty seemed the least likely candidate. Oil tycoons, garish hair and ludicrous dresses, and Joan Collins, is all so 1980s and ridiculous.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix's Mindhunter: unnerving, brilliant TV space
If its first episodes - helmed by macabre master David Fincher - are anything to go by, this could be one of the series of the year
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 14, 2017 – Page R3
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-- You may have heard about Mindhunter, the new and highly anticipated Netflix crime drama. You may have heard that it's about cops trying to understand terrifying serial killers. In online promos and trailers you've seen you may have formed the impression, as you are meant to, that it's about appalling crimes.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Hollywood fable that enabled Weinstein space
Even as they confront the unnerving allegations against the movie magnate, many continue to cling to fairy tales about the business
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 12, 2017 – Page L2
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-- There are now so many unnerving allegations against and public stories about Harvey Weinstein that it's hard to figure out a context other than disgust.But here's one way of looking at the larger context - a problem with public perception of the allegations against Weinstein is that it fits into the public's imagination as a kind of perverse beauty-and-the-beast illusion.  FULL STORY arrow
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What to learn from Jerry Seinfeld's humour space
The funnyman's new special is the best kind of escapism because the comedy is, itself, an act of escaping morality and controversy
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 – Page L2
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-- The other day, Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice-president, issued a fierce and angry attack on Donald Trump. He said that the United States is on ''a very dark path'' and called on important people to take a stand.  FULL STORY arrow
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Forget TV, let's just watch the U.S. fall apart space
Now more than ever, Canadian television has very low ratings, taking second place to what emanates daily from the United States
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 9, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Yes, there is undoubtedly a connection between Netflix hiking its monthly fees and the company's commitment to spend $100-million a year on Canadian-made TV. If you are annoyed with the rate hike, your best bet is to take it up with Heritage Minister Melanie Joly. Apparently she's tight with Netflix.  FULL STORY arrow
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Beautiful, bittersweet tale of urban Canada space
A documentary on Montreal's Greek neighbourhood ruminates on the joys, pitfalls and sense of loss of a tight-knit community
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, October 7, 2017 – Page R7
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-- Urban Canada changes, rushing forward, all the time.That is how the fabric of it ages quickly and evolves. There is little thought for the past, especially the past of the working poor, those who lived in tiny homes and laboured in the traditional industries and trades.  FULL STORY arrow
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Escapism in a French frock opera space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, October 5, 2017 – Page L3
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-- What a time it's been. An alarming time of horror, strangeness and dread. Daily the bad news comes, drop by drop, of death and horror.Escapism is called for, and a perfect example of worthwhile escapism is on the horizon for this weekend. It's a frock opera with layers of intrigue about lies, betrayal, murder and more betrayal. It's a rich tale to bite into. Mostly, it's about fashion and frocks.  FULL STORY arrow
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The semiotics of Jagmeet Singh, the millennials' dreamboat space
New NDP Leader understands the power of images and the role of social media in a way few others do
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Jagmeet Singh is not very good on live TV. Yet.The newly and soundly elected Leader of the New Democratic Party looked a tad uncomfortable as the TV cameras focused on him and his family after his victory on Sunday. Just a teensy bit awkward. A confident man, he was, briefly, bashful. The thing about bashful is that a lot of people find it adorable.  FULL STORY arrow
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Where feel-good TV fails and flourishes space
Where Kevin (Probably) Saves the World turns a familiar premise into a refreshing hit, The Good Doctor struggles to revive viewers
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, October 2, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Let's talk about some of the new series arriving almost daily now. In particular, let's look at how familiar templates or conventional themes are handled. In one case, handled badly and, in the second case, with enough shrewdness to make the very ordinary very entertaining.  FULL STORY arrow
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The missing-child genre template: Two gripping takes space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 30, 2017 – Page R3
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-- The disappearance of a child.It is a haunting possibility, a shuddersome nightmare and the basis for numerous dramas. The emotional material and the tension are built in - the guilt of parents and others, the searing need of the viewer to know that the child is found and safe.  FULL STORY arrow
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Netflix deal is sweet for Netflix, not Canada space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Friday, September 29, 2017 – Page A11
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-- Last year, Netflix executives said they anticipated that the streaming service would increase its original programming lineup to more than 1,000 hours in 2017.That's a lot of TV content that costs an awful lot of money. It just got a helping hand from the Canadian taxpayer.  FULL STORY arrow
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Fahmy: Trapped in several circles of hell space
Filmmaker delivers an intimate profile of the Canadian journalist who spent 400 days in an Egyptian prison on terrorism charges
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 28, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Mohamed Fahmy is a man in a constant state of agitation. He's either brooding or on the move, finding it hard to be serene. You, too, would be in such a state if you had spent more than 400 days in an Egyptian prison and had your chance of freedom snatched away more than once.  FULL STORY arrow
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Let Mercer's exit end our cowardly comedy space
Bombshell announcement provides an opportunity for the type of savage indignation and biting humour that Canada needs now
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 – Page L2
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-- On Monday morning, Rick Mercer released an online video. He was back in the alley where he does his rants and he was promoting the new and 15th season of Rick Mercer Report (Tuesdays, CBC, 8 p.m.). Then he dropped a bombshell - it will be the show's last season. He reminded viewers of the time his show airs on CBC, including, per CBC tradition, the time in Newfoundland and Labrador. ''A place,'' the St. John's native concluded, ''Where I'll be spending a lot more time in the future.''  FULL STORY arrow
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Against all odds, Jimmy Kimmel is now essential viewing space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 – Page L1
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-- No one would have picked Jimmy Kimmel to be the most dangerous, angry comedian in the United States. But he's become precisely that.Night after night, Jimmy Kimmel Live (ABC, weekdays at 11:35 p.m.) has become essential, galvanizing viewing. Not because of his interviews with actors or his surreally funny mockery of The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchises, but because he's in a personal war with a group of American politicians over health care. He's fiercely, authentically angry and he won't give an inch.  FULL STORY arrow
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An almost brilliant adaptation space
The CBC's six-part Alias Grace series is an ambitious but flawed drama about a fearsome female soul
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 25, 2017 – Page L2
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-- It is incumbent on anyone writing about the CBC adaptation of Alias Grace to mention the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. Not because the two productions are, necessarily, companion pieces adapted from the same author, but because the viewer is going to be thinking about the latter while watching the former. It isn't long before the viewer is disabused.  FULL STORY arrow
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Star Trek or Earth? Choose Earth first space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 23, 2017 – Page R3
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-- The alleged big event this weekend is Star Trek making a television comeback. It's so big I can't even think about it. Also, it's not available for review.  FULL STORY arrow
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Bad Blood is bloody good space
Mini-series about the Montreal Mafia moves along with a propulsive force
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 21, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Like most Mafia/crime family dramas, Bad Blood is about more than crime, corruption and mayhem. It's about peace and orderly government and it's about family dynamics. Little wonder that in the movie You've Got Mail, the Tom Hanks character suggests the answers to all life's questions can be found in The Godfather. And in this case, it is based on a true story.  FULL STORY arrow
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American Vandal: Rude satire is ridiculous fun space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 19, 2017 – Page L2
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-- First, there's the crime. Then a snapshot of the victim. Next, a short bit about the alleged perpetrator. And then, inevitably, the meat of the matter - the evidence against the suspect. Finally, there's the carefully accumulated new evidence - found by the filmmaker - that might exonerate the suspect.  FULL STORY arrow
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FALL TV: NEW COMFORTS AND OLD PLEASURES space
From a gripping Vietnam War documentary to Star Trek, the season's small-screen lineup is ready to give viewers an ideal dose of escapism, John Doyle writes, joined by strong returning summer shows of last year and a provocative slew of new material
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 16, 2017 – Page R1
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-- The concept of ''new fall TV'' is not what it used to be.And that's a good thing.There's fun to be had in the next quarter, but it's not the only period that matters. Long promised by networks beleaguered by the boilerplate plan of fall, midseason and summer TV schedules, the shift to allyear TV is emphatically here, being forced upon networks by streaming services and, well, technology that allows viewers to access TV series at any old time.  FULL STORY arrow
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Emmys are a battle between network, cable and Netflix space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 14, 2017 – Page L2
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-- The number of categories and awards associated with the Emmy Awards (Sunday, CBS and CTV, 8 p.m.) can seem bewildering. But here's an interesting figure: 15 - the number of Oscar winners nominated for Emmys this year. That tells you that prestige television is where the action is.  FULL STORY arrow
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Why The Deuce is about porn, capitalism and today's politics space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 – Page L2
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-- David Simon thinks Hillary Clinton was absolutely on point to emphasize that she was ''creeped out'' by Donald Trump looming behind her and stalking her every move during the second presidential debate last year.  FULL STORY arrow
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TIFF's TV program is a mixed bag of goods space
The festival's offerings this year are all good TV, but don't necessarily represent the pinnacle of quality or height of cultural relevance
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 11, 2017 – Page L2
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-- TIFF this, TIFF that. It's all TIFF in this neck of the woods, for the first few days of the film festival anyway. It seems so all-consuming in the media that it's inevitable TIFF will try to consume television too.  FULL STORY arrow
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The dangerous allure of disaster porn on TV space
Dramatic coverage of storms may be mesmerizing, but endless reporting of the destruction can be numbing
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Page A12
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-- Even since Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas and flooded Houston, all-news TV has been offering non-stop natural-disaster coverage. It's seductive, for both the viewer and the channels. On CNN and other outlets, we saw reporters and camera crews floating around on boats to individually rescue the elderly, the sick and the simply stranded.  FULL STORY arrow
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Outlander, the most brutally beautiful show on TV, is back space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 9, 2017 – Page R3
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-- There is nothing romantic or ethereal about the opening scenes of the third season of Outlander (Sunday, W Network, 9 p.m.).The series, which is probably the biggest drama in the world after Game of Thrones, has always defied convention and description. It is a love story, a historical drama, a feminist manifesto, a time-travel fantasy and, mostly, a fierce celebration of the sturdiness of true love and true love's transforming power.  FULL STORY arrow
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The Deuce: A portrait of lives in the grime space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, September 7, 2017 – Page L2
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-- It's the slow-burning story and the depth of the characters that matter in The Deuce. It's set in a formidably grimy world - New York in 1971, and among the sex workers, the pimps, the drug addicts, the bartenders and waitresses, the desperate and doomed. It is outstanding television drama and for all the surface raunch it contains, it is a work of tremulous intimacy.  FULL STORY arrow
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AHS's brilliant, unhinged reaction to Trump space
No one on either side of the divide gets out unscathed as Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk concoct a twisted take on the new America
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By JOHN DOYLE
Tuesday, September 5, 2017 – Page L2
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-- It is a testament to the creative power and ambitions of television drama these days that the new fall season kicks off early with a wildly imaginative horrorpolitical-satire series that is emphatically about the Trump era.  FULL STORY arrow
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Conventional TV is doing just fine space
Far from being the enemy, Internet streaming turned out to be the kick that networks needed to thrive
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, September 4, 2017 – Page L2
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-- It's Labour Day, so let's labour in the numbers game.You know how on Sundays, your local TV news always tells you about ''the weekend box office?'' There is some breathless report that a new movie grosses this much money while some other movie only brought in that much money.  FULL STORY arrow
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Narcos continues its brilliant epic about the drug trade space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, September 2, 2017 – Page R1
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-- The point of Narcos was never Pablo Escobar. For its first two seasons the series rooted itself firmly in the rise and fall of Escobar, the most notorious of maniacal drug kingpins, and a performance by Wagner Moura as Escobar was as emphatic as it gets.  FULL STORY arrow
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Disjointed's high humour merely burns out space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Thursday, August 31, 2017 – Page L1
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-- Exactly why Chuck Lorre would do a network-style sitcom for Netflix is a mystery.The man is the default king of conventional TV comedy. As producer and writer, he's had 12 seasons of Two and a Half Men, 10 seasons of The Big Bang Theory, several years of Mike and Molly and he's also got the coming Young Sheldon, the Big Bang spinoff.  FULL STORY arrow
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Money, not morals, is what matters in professional sports space
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By JOHN DOYLE
Wednesday, August 30, 2017 – Page L1
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-- It is mildly astonishing that the CFL persuaded the Hamilton Tiger-Cats not to hire Art Briles.Mildly astonishing because professional sports is a strange zone, an ethics-free zone and a place where morals are missing in the action. Money matters. Winning matters. Nothing else matters.  FULL STORY arrow
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Anyone for Thatcher-era nostalgia? space
The comedy White Gold is a strange and often savage show, with eighties pop music as much a presence as its constant swearing
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By JOHN DOYLE
Monday, August 28, 2017 – Page L2
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-- Eighties nostalgia is arbitrary and peculiar. It must mystify millennials.A particularly peculiar emanation has just arrived here via the BBC and Netflix. Pining for the days of Thatcher's Britain and all the angst of that period?  FULL STORY arrow
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Red carded space
David Conn's investigation into corruption in soccer is a colourful, cautionary tale
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By JOHN DOYLE
Saturday, August 26, 2017 – Page R11
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-- The Fall of the House of FIFA By David Conn Yellow Jersey Press, 320 pages, $35.99''The defendants fostered a culture of corruption and greed ... undisclosed and illegal payments, kickbacks and bribes became a way of doing business at FIFA.'' Those are the words of James Comey, former director of the FBI. The man eventually fired by U.S. President Donald Trump had, in his career, succinctly nailed the problem at the governing body of world soccer. But Comey only makes a fleeting appearance in this book. The story is truly one of vast international intrigue.  FULL STORY arrow
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Complete Index of Today's Print Headlines
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