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Arts and Entertainment

TV Junkie: Sunday Gets Complicated with 'Dexter'/'Homeland' Premieres

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Sundays are getting extremely busy with several shows vying for the same time slot - what's a TV Junkie to do? If you have a cable provider-issued DVR then you can record a couple shows at a time but what do you watch in real time when there are so many great options.

This Sunday marks the season premieres of: "Dexter," "Hung," "How To Make It In America," and the series premiere of "Homeland" (get to know the "Homeland" characters via the video above). These shows are going up against the already established "Boardwalk Empire" and "Breaking Bad" but thankfully these are on premium cable and are repeated ad nauseum. "Homeland," Showtime's new psychological/terrorism thriller is very sharp and I highly recommend it but there's no way I'll be turning away from AMC's "Breaking Bad" this late in the season. Believe me, I don't want it to sound like I'm complaining about the abundance of good television, I just wish "they" would spread it evenly across the week as there are plenty of nights where there is a dearth of offerings.
TV Laugh Tracks: Why are we hearing laugh tracks in new shows like "Whitney," "2 Broke Girls," and "How To Be A Gentlemen"? It's not 1954, it's 2011, if your show needs a laugh track to tell people where the funny parts are you have a serious problem. The only show in recent memory that used a studio audience adequately was Louis C.K.'s short-lived "Lucky Louie" which was an obvious teleplay shot on vintage sets - it was a deliberate throwback to "All In The Family," a stylistic decision. The great comedies on TV right now, which range from slapsticky "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" and "Workaholics" to smart-and-layered "Community" or "Louie" or the frenetic "Parks and Recreation" and "30 Rock" don't use laugh tracks. To be sure, the laugh track on "Whitney" sounds different than the one on "Two and a Half Men," but it still doesn't work, it's intrusive and obnoxious, and I wince every time I hear it, even when I was about to laugh.
KCET returns with it's award winning series "SoCal Connected" tonight at 8:30pm with 2 pieces worth your while: "Show Me The Money" takes a look at LA's decaying infrastructure, particularly the thousands of miles of cracked and often dangerous sidewalks. Who is going to pay to fix them and why did LA never apply for federal money when it was available? The second piece of the night, "Burger Binge," looks at the popularity of fast food in the area despite the well-known health risks.
This coming Tuesday, October 4th, at the Upright Citizen's Brigade Theatre, there will be a showing of filmmaker Jodi Lennon's documentary about Marc Maron, Marc Maron: The Voice of Something, followed by the comedic stylings of Marc Maron, Sean Conroy (of The Long Shot Podcast), John Bowie, and more.
Check out the new "Walking Dead" trailer at the end of this post. The series returns on October 16th and while I'm excited about it, I wonder if this trailer is showing us too much since we'll only be getting about 6 episodes before the show goes on hiatus until 2012.
It's exciting to hear that "X-Files" creator Chris Carter is returning to television, this time with a mystery series with a female lead. There is also talk of a third "X-Files" film in the works which would be great as many fans were disappointed by The X-Files: I Want To Believe.
More Halloween Ideas: Over the past year+ the DVD company Shout! Factory has been releasing uncut versions of the supermonster turtle Gamera films. I have very fond memories of getting home from grade school and turning on KTVU-2 in the SF Bay Area to catch kaiju (Japanese giant monster) films that they would screen in the afternoons during the week. I had always thought it would be fun to have a giant monster party where people either dressed up as monsters or as members of those ridiculously uniformed Japanese "safety" squads - these Gamera movies running in the background would be perfect!
The TV Junkie Must-Watch Plan: Tonight - "Real Time With Bill Maher," "Fringe," "The Soup," "Fashion Police," "Late Show With David Letterman," "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson." Saturday - "Weird Al Yankovic Live! - The Alpocalypse Tour," "Saturday Night Live." Sunday - "Prohibition," "Boardwalk Empire," "Breaking Bad," (then on late night repeat: "Dexter," "Homeland," "Hung," "How To Make It In America"

8:00pm Real Time With Bill Maher HBO - Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-Mich.); "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane; author Salman Rushdie; journalist Dana Priest; activist Van Jones.

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8:00pm Nikita The CW - Falling Ash Nikita and Michael run into Owen while investigating an old Division program.

8:30pm SoCal Connected KCET - Season Premiere. "Show Me The Money" vs "Burger Binge"

9:00pm Fringe Fox - One Night in October When a serial killer "Over There" starts piling up victims, the Fringe Division gets involved with the investigation.

10:00pm The Soup E! - Joel McHale & Co. tear apart all media

10:30pm Fashion Police E! - Joan Rivers destroys fashionistas again

11:35pm Late Show With David Letterman CBS - Comic Karen Rontowski; Anne-Sophie Mutter performs.

11:35pm The Tonight Show With Jay Leno NBC - Actor Hugh Laurie; GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain; The Airborne Toxic Event performs.

12:35am The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson CBS - Actor Seth Rogen; actress Judy Greer.

12:35am Late Night With Jimmy Fallon NBC - Actress Claire Danes; Rev. Al Sharpton; animal expert Jeff Musial; Pearl Jam performs.


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9:00pm Weird Al Yankovic Live! - The Alpocalypse Tour Comedy Central - "Weird Al" brings new beats with an old twist as he takes aim at pop culture.

9:00pm Doctor Who BBC America - The Wedding of River Song Time and space hang in the balance by Lake Silencio on the day the Doctor dies.

11:25pm Saturday Night Live NBC - Host Melissa McCarthy; Lady Antebellum performs.


8:00pm Prohibition PBS SoCal/KOCE - A Nation of Drunkards The Woman's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League push for an amendment to the Constitution outlawing alcohol nationally.

9:00pm Boardwalk Empire HBO - Ourselves Alone Nucky contemplates betrayal in his inner circle; Margaret tries to help Nucky avoid trouble; Chalky is badgered in prison; Owen Sleater scouts the Thompson residence.

9:00pm Dexter Showtime - Season Premiere. Those Kinds of Things Dexter Morgan attends his 20th high school reunion; Dexter considers his son's legacy; Debra becomes an unexpected hero.

9:00pm The Good Wife CBS - The Death Zone Alicia must quickly learn English law when one of her cases is retried in Britain via satellite.

9:00pm The Navigator TCM - (1924) A millionaire (Buster Keaton) and his girlfriend (Kathryn McGuire) drift alone at sea in a condemned steamship. Silent.

9:00pm Halloween Wars Food - Witches & Scary Places Five teams create mind blowing Halloween themed displays of a witch and scary haunted house.

10:00pm Hung HBO - Season Premiere. Don't Give Up on Detroit; Hung Like a Horse Ray and Tanya try to convince a bank officer that their idea is financially sound; Lenore discovers a new prospect.

10:00pm Homeland Showtime - Series Premiere. Pilot CIA case officer Carrie Mathison is suspicious of war hero Nicholas Brody.

10:00pm Storm Chasers Discovery - Storms Over St. Louis The teams will encounter the most-violent tornado season in more than 50 years; the year's first chase is a storm headed toward downtown St. Louis

10:00pm Breaking Bad AMC - End Times Hank pushes Gomez to pursue a lead; Walt struggles to protect his family; Jesse gets alarming news.

10:30pm How To Make It In America HBO - Season Premiere. I'm Good Ben and Cam plan an event; Rachel carries a torch for Ben; Rene has a new billboard; Domingo expands his business.