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New Shows (2013): October 28-November 3

Watch The Returned to see why I chose this picture.
It's been a while, but we finally have a new show worth dropping everything to watch.

As Josie mentioned yesterday, I will be reviewing as many of the JFK specials as I can. Rather than include them all in the weekly column, I will write one post that reviews them all and post it at the end of the month. If there is a JFK special you would particularly like me to include, please comment below. In the meantime, I have listed them with an asterisk.

The color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

Seduced and Abandoned (HBO at 9:00pm)
Alec Baldwin and James Toback travel to Cannes to try to drum up money for a film they want to make. This documentary is a fascinating piece to watch on two levels. The first is the most obvious -- Hollywood is completely commercial and watching what the money people want in exchange for their millions will bring out the cynic in anyone. The second level is what makes this worth watching. While in Cannes, Baldwin and Toback met with many well-known Hollywood directors, producers, and actors to discuss the film with them. It is astonishing to hear them discuss how they survive and thrive in such an environment. The conversations with Scorsese and Gosling alone make this show one not to miss.

The Pete Holmes Show (TBS at 12:00am)
The latest addition to the late night talk scene, this show was funny. A sketch about Wolverine was simply hilarious as was Holmes’s monologue. An “interview” with Jon Stewart was less funny, but still entertaining. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this half hour. Give it a shot.

E! Entertainment Special: Tori Spelling (E! at 10:00pm)

Behind the Mask (Hulu Streaming)
A series that follows sporting mascots, one from high school, one from college, one from a minor league and one from a major league. I only watched the pilot, but I enjoyed it. One thing they all have in common? The persona of the mascot is not who these men really are. I recommend giving this series a chance.

War of the Worlds (PBS at 9:00pm)
An episode of The American Experience that talks about Orson Wells’ famous radio broadcast in which he convinced millions that Martians had landed in New Jersey. What makes this so fun is that the producers had actors play the roles of people who had reacted. Some make you wonder about the intelligence on view; some are moving; some are hilarious. I really enjoyed this show.

Restaurant Redemption (Cooking Channel at 8:00pm)
Naked Vegas (Syfy at 10:00pm)

Nightmare Factory (Epix at 8:00pm)

SNL Halloween (NBC at 8:00pm)
A special that replayed old clips of Halloween skits. Like the show itself, these ranged from laugh out loud funny to groaningly bad. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen an episode of Saturday Night Live, so I enjoyed it. It did not, however, inspire me to start watching again.

The Returned (Sundance at 9:00pm)
Like The Fall, this is a series that has gotten so little press over here that I only learned about it by chance. And, like The Fall, this is a show you must drop everything to ensure that you see. It is simply astonishing. A variety of people, long dead, suddenly re-appear in a small French town. I was immediately captivated by these stories and the pilot ended on a twist that made me gasp. Honestly, this is one that must be added to your list right now.

Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories: Haunted House (Adult Swim at 12:00am)

Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive (Netflix Streaming)
Parks and Recreation is one of those shows I have tried to watch several times, but have never managed to quite get into. From what I understand, Ansari has become a big part of this show and is a funny guy. His stand-up, on the other hand, is a bit hit and miss. Some of the jokes were laugh out loud funny; some were really bad. If you are a fan, give this a shot; but, don’t go in with your expectations too high.

Time of Death (Showtime at 9:00pm)
A six hour documentary about the last months of terminally ill people. One story, that of Maria and her three children, spans the six hours. Other stories are profiled more quickly. I was impressed with the filmmakers who managed to convey what the families and the dying are going through without becoming voyeuristic or exploitive. Having spent a year of my life living this experience with my dad, I found the first hour very difficult to watch as it brought back memories and emotions that had long lay dormant. I recommend this series with the caveat that you understand that it will devastate you, but may give you a renewed pride in the human spirit.

It Takes a Choir (USA at 10:00pm)

The Thundermans (Nickelodeon at 9:00pm)
A family of superheroes moves to Hiddenville (I couldn’t make that up) so that they can keep their powers under wraps. Aimed at a tween audience, I am way out of the demographic. I thought it was silly and derivative, but it would be harmless enough for your kids.

The Thanksgiving House (Hallmark at 8:00pm)

*JFK: The Smoking Gun (Reelz at 8:00pm)
*America Declassified: JFK 50th (Travel Channel at 10:00pm)

Restaurant Express (Food at 9:00pm)
Doggie Nightmares (National Geographic Wild at 10:00pm)


  1. Thank you so much for highlighting The Returned, ChrisB! I never would have known about it if it weren't for you. You would think I'd have guessed from the description that it was going to be creepy, which is not usually my style at all, but this is so good I will make an exception. (I just won't watch it late at night!)

    And at the other end of the scale, I was very pleased to discover from you Restaurant Express, as competitive cooking shows are my guilty pleasure. Yep, I read everything, whether mention or full review! Thank you as always for your roundup.

  2. What a lovely comment, Gavrielle. Thank you. You made my day.


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