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Weekend TV: Amazon's Brilliant Transparent, Simpsons Death and Family Guy Crossover

Jeffrey Tambor

Mort Pfefferman's entire life has been an identity crisis. A divorced dad of three grown, though not always grown-up, children, melancholy Mort is truly at ease only when in the heretofore secret guise of his feminine alter ego, Maura. In a flashback from 20 years earlier, Maura laments, "No one's ever seen me except me" — a situation that's about to change as the funky younger Pfeffermans slowly get to know the truth about their trans parent in Amazon's Transparent (get it?), creator Jill Soloway's deeply felt, intensely human comedy. This series (available on Amazon Instant Prime starting Friday) should do for Amazon, reputation-wise, what House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black achieved for Netflix. It's at least their equal, with the feel and tone of... read more

Weekend TV: Good Wife, Midwife, Walking Dead and Helix Finales

Julianna Margulies, Alan Cumming

In a sudden, shocking (and heaven be praised, unspoiled) twist, this tremendous fifth season of CBS's The Good Wife has shifted from the dueling-firms spectacle of Alicia-vs-Will to the gut-wrenching reality of Alicia — and everyone else in her universe — grieving Will. Her former lover and boss-turned-rival (a succulent role for Josh Charles, who will be terribly missed) was the victim of a courtroom shooting, which in a savage irony was perpetrated by the vulnerable young client (Hunter Parrish) Will was busily defending. Will died doing what he loved best, you might say with his boots on — although one of his shoes was blown off in the violent melee — and now it's time to mourn.

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Holiday Weekend Playlist: Garish Candelabra, Earnest Ring

Michael Douglas

No one saves face in director Steven Soderbergh's ghoulishly entertaining, opulently produced Behind the Candelabra (Sunday, 9/8c), HBO's grandest, gaudiest and most fascinating movie in quite a long while — probably since last year's Game Change, in which Julianne Moore's uncanny impersonation of Sarah Palin swept the awards the way Michael Douglas is likely to repeat with his equally astonishing transformation into the flamboyant but closeted "Mr. Showmanship" Liberace.

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Weekend Playlist: Good Wife, Viking Finales; Carousel, Inside the TARDIS

Julianna Margulies, Josh Charles, Christine Baranski

In Sunday's brilliantly entertaining finale to another splendid season of CBS' The Good Wife — we choose to forget that Kalinda's ex ever existed — Denis O'Hare returns as a judge whose sciatica keeps him off the bench, pacing around the courtroom as he presides over a late-night emergency hearing over ballot-box irregularities in the next day's neck-and-neck election for Illinois governor. (Alicia's husband Peter is sweating every single vote.) Like Judge Abernathy, you may find it difficult to stay seated as this episode (9/8c), written by series creators Robert King (who also directed) and Michelle King, takes its many clever twists and turns, specializing in mischievous misdirection and game-changing surprises up to the very last jaw-dropping minute.

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The Weekend Playlist: A Great Wife, Pacino as Phil Spector, Kristin Sings

Helen Mirren and Al Pacino

When a terrific series is truly on its game, some episodes can feel like absolute perfection. Happened Tuesday with a thrillingly entertaining and pivotal episode of FX's Justified, and the same feeling applies to Sunday's sensational The Good Wife (9/8c, CBS). It has everything: sex, suspense, surprise, humor, emotion — and as usual with this sophisticated standard-bearer for network drama, a dazzling array of guest performances.

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New Year's Eve 2013: Your Guide to All the Night's Specials

Ryan Seacrest, Jenni 'JWoww' Farley

The noise, the crowds, the debauchery. Going out on New Year's Eve isn't everyone's idea of a good time. Fortunately, there's plenty of specials on the small screen to keep the party going (at a reasonable volume, of course) at home. Here's a schedule of what to watch when it comes time to count down to 2013... read more

Matt's Guide to Thursday TV: A Classic Community and All that Jazz

Danny Pudi

There's no comedy series quite like Community, and as is often the case with such an uncompromised original, being this defiantly different comes with a price. And sadly, that price tends to be the sort of cellar-dwelling ratings that would get most shows canceled, if on any other network. Thankfully, NBC can ill afford these days to turn away any show that gets this kind of cult and media buzz, although everyone wishes it were doing better or were programmed in a time period (the old 30 Rock slot currently being wasted on Whitney, maybe?) that might increase its exposure.

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Tonight's TV Hot List: Friday, Dec. 31, 2010

Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest

Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2011
10/9c ABC
Dick Clark reteams with Ryan Seacrest and Fergie to ring in the New Year with hot music acts, including Ke$ha, Taio Cruz, Willow Smith, Train, Jason Derulo, Drake, New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. Clark and Seacrest are live in Times Square as always, and Jenny McCarthy joins them as a correspondent while Fergie hosts from L.A. The party continues after the prime-time special for two additional shows, one of which includes that famous ball dropping in New York City. — Jennifer Sankowski

Read on for previews of Live From Lincoln Center, Bette Midler: The Showgirl Must Go On, New Year's Eve with Carson Daly, New Year's Eve Live, All American New Year, New Year's Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin and MTV's New Year's Bash 2011. read more

Tonight's TV Hot List: Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010

Survivor

Survivor: Nicaragua
8/7c CBS
Tonight's two-hour season finale promises lots of emotional fireworks as the five remaining castaways (Chase, Dan, Fabio, Holly, Sash) are cut down to the three players who will face the jury. But who will they be? Chase, Holly and Sash are in an alliance, which means Fabio needs to win the next two immunity challenges or he's jury bound. As for Dan, he needs to convince one or two of the alliance partners that they would be crazy not to take him to the finals because, frankly, no one is likely to vote for him since he coasted through the game and was never a threat to win anything. Following the season finale, the winner is revealed on the Survivor reunion special as the 20 castaways gather in Los Angeles to discuss the game. — Tim Holland

Read on for previews of Hunger at Home: The Food Crisis in America, Sunday Night Football, Leverage, Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III and BET 30: Moments and Movements. read more

Tonight's TV Hot List: Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010

Hot in Cleveland

Hot in Cleveland
10/9c TV Land
With impressive ratings, a slew of notable guest stars and Hollywood's current octogenarian "it girl," Betty White, leading the way, this sitcom took TV land by storm, and earned a second-season renewal (of 20 episodes) barely halfway through its first. Speaking of storms, tonight's Season 1 finale cooks up a doozy as a tornado churns through Ohio, and Melanie, Joy and Victoria are thunderstruck when the only safe shelter they can find is Elka's secret room in the cellar.

Read on for previews of America's Got Talent, Ghost Hunters International, the Little League Softball World Series, Live from Lincoln Center, Surviving the Cut and She's Got the Look. read more

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Premiered: January 30, 1976, on PBS
Rating: TV-G
User Rating: (18 ratings)
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Premise: Classical selections, dance, opera, jazz and other music from New York's Lincoln Center. Winner of numerous Emmys and two Peabody Awards, it's one of TV's most durable cultural showcases. In 1976, the year of its debut, it featured the first live telecasts of a full-length ballet and a subtitled opera; and since has included numerous performances by the New York Philharmonic and such greats as Renee Fleming, James Galway, Wynton Marsalis, Luciano Pavarotti, Itzhak Perlman and Beverly Sills.

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