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Guntucky: TV Review

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CMT’s “Guntucky” series, celebrating family and firearms, suffers from an uncomfortable and unavoidable association with the tragedies at Sandy Hook, in Boston and in West, Texas.

CMT’s Guntucky was originally meant to air in January of this year, but was unsurprisingly postponed after the Sandy Hook tragedy. In the week before its new premiere date, tragedy struck again: this time not guns, but bombs at the Boston Marathon, followed by a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, more violence in Boston and bomb threats around the country. Guntucky trades in both guns and explosives, but the problem with its presentation is not in the story of a family owned Kentucky gun range, nor in the hillybilly entertainment, but some of the more insidious implications. “America is the greatest country in the world,” an Argentinean man says after the range allows him to blow up his boat on their property, “because you can pretty much do whatever you want.” … READ MORE

Call Me Crazy: A Five Film: TV Review

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Lifetime’s star-studded but emotionally exhausting short-film collection about mental illness is a mixed bag.

In 2011, Lifetime debuted Five, which, through five short films, chronicled moments in the lives of women with breast cancer. The cable network collected recognizable names and faces on both sides of the camera for the project, with mixed results. In his reviewTHR‘s David Knowles called it “a heavy-handed therapy session,” and while there certainly are moments where that feels true in Five‘s follow-up,Call Me Crazy (this time about mental illness), its earnestness should not be dismissed. … READ MORE

Bet on Your Baby: TV Review

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ABC’s new competition series is supposed to spotlight the kids, but it’s the parents who, unfortunately, get most of the focus.

Neil Gaiman wrote, “I would like to see anyone, prophet, king or God, convince a thousand cats to do the same thing at the same time.” The same is true for babies, and the unpredictability of young children is something that TV has been trading in for a long time, particularly the long-running CBS series Kids Say the Darndest Things. Now ABC has gotten in the game with Bet on Your Baby, a game show where one parent guesses how their toddler (placed in “The Babydome”) might react to a challenge (stacking cookies, spinning in place, knocking down certain color blocks) coaxed by the other parent. … READ MORE

The Moment: TV Review

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Former NFL Quarterback Kurt Warner plays cheerleader in this USA series, encouraging individuals to take the chance to pursue their dream jobs.

If you’ve paid much attention to professional football in the last decade, you’ll know the story of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner, Super Bowl MVP award winner and former bag boy. The latter part is what most people find compelling about Warner, that he never gave up on his dream even when he was bagging groceries. He eventually rose through the ranks of the Arena Football League before being signed by the St. Louis Rams to the NFL in 1999, and going on to glory. USA’s new reality series The Momentplays on this idea of hard work paired with golden opportunity. The series is hosted by Warner, who helps give nine people a second chance at their dreams. … READ MORE

Ready for Love: TV Review

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Executive producer Eva Longoria offers NBC’s answer to ABC’s “The Bachelor” in a glossy spectacle that truly focuses on dating as competition.

ABC’s dating show juggernaut The Bachelor has dominated its genre for a long time, but now NBC is attempting to launch a rival network franchise with Ready for Love, a new Eva Longoria-produced dating series. NBC’s show shares some aspects with that “other” show (which it references with appropriate catty disdain in the opening moments), but makes this endeavor wholly its own, for better or worse. … READ MORE

Forever Young: TV Review

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Ashton Kutcher’s take on ”The Real World” pairs young and old in what amounts to a beer pong-fueled extended visit with the grandparents.

TV Land, the channel for people who enjoy reruns of classic television (and shows devoted to Betty White), has tossed its hat into the reality TV game with Forever Young, a Real World-esque series (TV Land is owned by MTV parent Viacom) that puts five people under 30 and five folks over 70 in a house together to see what happens when people stop being polite and start needing Depends. … READ MORE

Kristen Schaal Live at the Fillmore: TV Review

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Her first comedy special was just as horrific as she warned, but it has to be seen to be believed. Or is the joke on us?

Kristen Schaal, perhaps best known to most people as the strange and extremely inappropriate Hazel on 30 Rock, took on San Francisco’s Fillmore for a one-hour Comedy Central special — her first and, she says, her last.

Schaal, who also has been a Daily Show correspondent and voices the role of Louise on Bob’s Burgers, spent a lot of timetweeting before the special aired to discourage people from viewing it, calling it “a nightmare” and telling her friend Kurt Braunohler for Vulture: “It definitely didn’t go the way I wanted it to go. Because it went badly. I just can’t even believe they’re going to air it.”

The Nerdist: TV Review

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Chris Hardwick’s BBC America variety talk show is a club where membership is granted only to those who can keep up with the references.

Geeks are inheriting the Earth, and BBC America wants to join in the fun. Luckily, they’ve brought in some genuine geek talent for it, creating a panel talk show from the popular podcast of the same name,The Nerdist. The comedy-variety show will have a 10-episode run showcasing stars from many beloved nerd series (like Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica) as well as stand-up comedians, games and banter among the panel about all things nerd … READ MORE

The Real World: Portland: TV Review

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MTV’s benchmark series, once of cultural interest, has now taken its alcohol-soaked hookup party to a violent level.

“Here youth, unchanging, blooms and smiles, here dwells eternal spring, and warm from Hope’s elysian isles, the winds their perfume bring.” That was Oliver Wendell Holmes regarding the mythical Fountain of Youth, from which MTV draws a new group of attractive young folk each year, soaks them in alcohol and then sets the cameras rolling. It might not be exactly what Holmes envisioned, but it’s worked out well for the network. Now in its 28th season,The Real World, the grandfather of the current docu-soap reality movement, continues to churn out familiar content that, in its immortal words, “finds out what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real.” … READ MORE

‘The Voice’ Gamble Pays Off With New Coaches Shakira, Usher (Analysis)

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The new mentors are playing the part of upstarts, getting playfully ribbed by the veterans while also, as Shakira says over and over, potentially benefiting from “beginner’s luck.”

NBC is looking to double-down on its biggest non-sports ratings hit The Voice by introducing some new blood to its coaching lineup. For this season (at least), Usher and Shakira will be filling in for Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera as they pursue their own projects, but there was a network nervousness over how these new coaches might work with veteran coaches Adam Levine and Blake Shelton READ MORE