Great Performances

1972, TV Show

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Weekend TV Review: Give These Shows a Medal!

While the Olympians continue to dominate the TV spotlight in Sochi, another gathering of championship talent takes a bow in the weekend's other gold-medal event: PBS's Great Performances presentation of National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (Friday, 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings).

Laurence Olivier led the National Theatre upon its founding in 1963, and he and other luminaries are seen in vintage clips from past productions, interspersed throughout a dazzling evening of live re-enactments and tantalizing excerpts from landmark plays, including Angels in America, Stuff Happens, The History Boys and War Horse. Fans of Downton Abbey will delight to see the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith in her 1964 prime, vamping in ...  Read Full Article

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Weekend TV Review: Give These Shows a Medal!

While the Olympians continue to dominate the TV spotlight in Sochi, another gathering of championship talent takes a bow in the weekend's other gold-medal event: PBS's Great Performances presentation of National Theatre: 50 Years on Stage (Friday, 9/8c, check tvguide.com listings).

Laurence Olivier led the National Theatre upon its founding in 1963, and he and other luminaries are seen in vintage clips from past productions, interspersed throughout a dazzling evening of live re-enactments and tantalizing excerpts from landmark plays, including Angels in America, Stuff Happens, The History Boys and War Horse. Fans of Downton Abbey will delight to see the Dowager Countess Maggie Smith in her 1964 prime, vamping in ... read more

The Weekend Playlist: Dead Popular, 40 Years of Great Performances

Is "I've Got You Under My Skin" the most appropriate sweet nothing to croon in the skin-crawling world of AMC's The Walking Dead? No matter, because there's not much of a lull in Sunday's powerful episode (9/8c), ominously titled "Infected." Which suggests the virus that felled Nerd Boy last week creates a bloody panic in the cell block, reminding us how illusory any notion of safety can be. "I haven't seen anybody be lucky in a long time," former Army medic Bob Stookey (new regular Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) observes as a full gamut of courage, terror and anguish is displayed during and after the latest crisis. Earning special bonus stripes this week: Melissa McBride as the awesome Carol, who takes a few distraught girls under her wing, but not to coddle them: "You want to live, you have to become strong" is her mantra. Meanwhile, the walkers keep pressing up against the prison gates and the audience can't get enough of the riveting mayhem, as evidenced by the record numbers who turned out for last Sunday's premiere.

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The Weekend Playlist: Walking Dead Is Back, and So Is Homeland's Brody

It's raining zombies, quite literally, by the end of the first hour of The Walking Dead's fourth harrowing season (Sunday, 9/8c, AMC). And when it rains, it pours blood. Just how fans like it.

But it's in the pauses between the gruesome action, those eerie and unsettling silences, when we're reminded there's no rest for the living in a treacherous world where swarming walkers are constantly pressing against the prison-shelter gates, insatiable and relentless. In these quieter moments, Dead reinforces its claim as TV's greatest horror drama by making us care so desperately about the characters' humanity.

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The Weekend Playlist: Emmys, Shakespeare, Showtime Finales

Who'll win at this year's Emmys? Who knows? It's the only major awards show where the old guard and new blood clash on an annual basis, and among the few things you can bet on in this unpredictable process are that Michael Douglas will win for his Liberace impersonation (ditto his HBO movie Behind the Candelabra) and that host Neil Patrick Harris will do his damnedest to make CBS's live Emmys telecast (8/7c, 5 Pacific) as enjoyable as the Tonys.

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Matt's Guide to Weekend TV: Wallander, Dinosaurs on Doctor Who, and More

In the tradition of all great detectives, Swedish bundle-of-brooding Kurt Wallander can't escape crime no matter where he goes — and that includes the country home he is just moving into with his lady love as the first of three new Wallander movies kicks off a third season on Masterpiece Mystery! (Sunday, PBS, check tvguide.com listings). read more

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Premiered: November 04, 1972, on PBS
Rating: TV-PG
User Rating: (54 ratings)
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Premise: PBS's signature performing-arts series showcases dance, drama, comedy and music ranging from orchestral and operatic to Broadway and the blues. The Lanford Wilson drama `The Rimers of Eldritch' was its first presentation and `Brideshead Revisited' was perhaps its most famous. There have been more than 600 `Great Performances' all told. Some might have been only `reasonable performances' (as Robin Williams once quipped), but many others were distinguished, among them some 50 Emmy nominees.

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