American Masters

1986, TV Show

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Hot Summer
No “dog days” on TV this year

There’s no taking vacation from summer TV. Used to be everything went mostly dark between May and September. No longer. This off-season’s deluge of shows includes the usual glut of reality TV, much of it disposable — though some, like Bravo’s delicious Project Runway, are must-sees. Meanwhile cable networks deliver signature dramas and comedies nearly every night of the week. Even in normally sleepy late July, there are plenty of fresh and compelling choices. Here’s a sampler of the new series and specials, rated by whether they’re worth coming inside for. Work Out Tuesdays, 9 pm/ET, BravoReason to stay in: To see how the rich and famous get in shape, as cameras follow the buff trainers at an exclusive Beverly Hills penthouse gym.Worth watching? I’ve met barbells with more personality. Too little sweat, too much attitude fr read more

Geeks and Freaks
Eureka: The playground of mad scientists

The tucked-away town of Eureka may not be on a map, but you can't miss it. Just turn left at the second wormhole. What's strange is commonplace in Eureka (Tuesdays at 9 pm/ET on Sci Fi, premiering July 18), a divertingly original but awfully precious comic fantasy that brings science fiction back to Earth. The setting: a quirky Northern Exposure-like burg in the Pacific Northwest where every basement seems to be hatching a mind-blowing (and potentially cosmos-shaking) experiment, courtesy of a local population of obsessed geniuses. Many of the classified secrets behind the town's origins are revealed in this week's two-hour pilot, in which U.S. Marshal Jack Carter (gangly, goofily charming Colin Ferguson) stumbles into Eureka just as a secret project goes awry and beg read more

Summer TV is always bad, but ...

Question: Summer TV is always bad, but this year I find myself watching virtually nothing. OK, I have used the rerun schedule to catch a few eps of My Name Is Earl (but not if I already saw them), and I have rewatched some Grey's Anatomy episodes, but otherwise I watch nothing. I can't face Gilmore Girls reruns this year. Somehow Lost reruns don't cut it. I'd rather pull my fingernails out one by one than watch moronic reality shows. I don't have cable. Am I doomed until September? Is there anything out there on broadcast TV that is worth watching? Answer: Oh, David, this is so sad. I'm actually having a pretty good TV summer, but only because of the variety of cable choices, from Rescue Me on FX and The Closer on TNT to Hustle on AMC to HBO's Deadwood-Entourage combo on Sundays, with a chaser of The 4400 the same night. And in July there's the delightful new comedy-mystery read more

He Knew He Was Right He stole...

He Knew He Was Right
He stole the child! That whackjob stole the child! Louis Trevelyan's madhouse antics are back, and he's seen some hard living since last we met. Has he been sleeping in a gutter, a morgue, some high-Alps Tyrolean crevasse? Get that man some under-eye concealer! He is in a serious hate spiral, and the only friend he's got left he has to pay to keep around — Bozzle, who, judging from his habit of speaking about himself in the third person ("Best to keep on the right side of Bozzle"; "Bozzle's got considerable connections"; "Yes, Bozzle understands, madame") has been passing his newfound time with little kidnapped Louey by watching Elmo ad nauseam. But the real highlights of Part 2 are the kooky sly-eyed catfights between the 19th century's read more

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Premiered: 1986, on PBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (16 ratings)
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Premise: An acclaimed series of biographies of artists, writers, filmmakers, musicians and Hollywood stars. Profiles of Alexander Calder, Paul Simon, Charlie Chaplin and music producer John Hammond won Peabody Awards, while films about Edward R. Murrow, Lucille Ball, Buster Keaton, Lillian Gish and Leonard Bernstein (among others) won Emmys, and a study of the Algonquin Round Table won a 1987 Academy Award.

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American Masters: Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of
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American Masters: Bing Crosby - Rediscovered
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