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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | December 7, 1994
The odds against it happening are very high, but tonight TV provides a sort of holiday miracle: two watchable Christmas specials on the same night. One is from 1965 -- and that's the newer one. The other, seen for the first time since it was performed live on the DuMont network, is from 1951.* "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (8-8:30 p.m., Channel 11) -- Vince Guaraldi's jazz score is terrific. Linus' lecture about the true meaning of Christmas is right on the money -- and right about the money, too. Then there's the Snoopy dance, seen in animated form for the first time -- and that scrawny Christmas tree, which Charlie Brown identifies with for all the right reasons.
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | June 22, 1994
Tonight's easy best bet: the seventh and deciding game of the NBA Finals.* "NBA Finals" (9 p.m.-conclusion, WMAR, Channel 2) -- The Houston Rockets have the home-court advantage for Game 7 against the New York Knicks, and the one advantage viewers have is that, unlike Friday's Game 6, this final game is not likely to be pre-empted by coverage of a low-speed chase. NBC.* "NYPD Blue" (10-11 p.m., WJZ, Channel 13) -- John Wesley Shipp guest stars as Roy Larsen, the physical-fitness overenthusiast who takes an almost instant dislike to Kelly (David Caruso)
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | July 6, 1994
Leaving aside O. J. Simpson preliminary hearing coverage (I'm bypassing O. J., OK?), there's still an above-average selection of watchable offerings on TV tonight.* "Live From Lincoln Center" (8 p.m.-10 p.m., WMPT, Channels 22 and 67) -- This marks the 28th season of the Mostly Mozart Festival, a welcome summer breeze of concerts devoted to -- well, mostly to Mozart, but tonight to Tchaikovsky, Gluck and Haydn also. Headliners are pianist Shura Cherkassky, soprano Korliss Uecker and baritone Thomas Hampson.
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By David Bianculli and David Bianculli,Special to The Sun | August 10, 1994
CBS has some "Good Advice" on tap tonight, and so do I. Mine is to skip "Good Advice" and watch HBO's comedies instead -- especially "The Larry Sanders Show," on which Sharon Stone is a guest star.* "Good Advice" (8:30-9 p.m., WBAL, Channel 11) -- This show ought to be called "Lethargy Inc." Who cares? CBS.* "Models Inc." (9-10 p.m., WBFF, Channel 45) -- William Katt, as Paul, begins to get even more involved in the murder case, and with some of the suspects, in tonight's episode. The writers have yet to ignite any sparks on this show, but at least they're beginning to make the effort to create some entertaining friction.
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March 3, 2000
A breezy yet diamond-hard humor runs through "What Planet Are You From?," a bawdy, brainy sex comedy geared toward smart people with a sophomoric streak. At its goofiest and gaggiest, this fish-out-of-water yarn, about a space alien who finds true love while trying to take over the world, will remind viewers of Mel Brooks. At its crudest, it recalls "There's Something About Mary." But at its wisest -- and it is surprisingly wise, in the end -- "What Planet Are You From?" evokes fond memories of director Mike Nichols and his former partner, Elaine May, who together shed a wry, cleansing light on the human condition by way of gently lethal satire.
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By Michael Sragow and Michael Sragow,SUN MOVIE CRITIC | April 27, 2001
Once again, the giant Hollywood star machine has labored mightily and coughed up a mouse - or at best, Warren Beatty in a polar bear suit. He's cute in the suit, like a baggy-pants version of the polar bears in the yuletide Coca-Cola commercials. He should have played the whole picture that way. For Beatty doesn't have a naturally engaging comic spirit. He didn't in those duds everyone has forgotten, like "The Fortune," or in the one no one will forget, "Ishtar," or even in his fading-from-memory hit, "Heaven Can Wait."
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC | September 10, 2000
Think of it as a giant pep rally on the eve of the big game. Only this year, there's no big game. Traditionally, the Emmy Awards telecast announced the start of network premiere week and the new fall season. The television industry understood synergy before synergy was cool. But this year, for the first time in network history, there is no premiere week, and the new fall series won't start arriving until October after the summer Olympics have run their course on NBC. The fall season is still flying well below most viewers' radar despite the networks' endless on-air promotion.
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By Stephen Galloway and Stephen Galloway,The Hollywood Reporter | January 18, 1994
HBO once again blew the competition out of the water at the National Academy of Cable Programming's 15th Anniversary CableACE Awards over the weekend, winning 34 trophies and dwarfing its nearest rival, Showtime, which took away 10 awards.HBO won movie or miniseries honors for "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom," which also gained a best actress award for Holly Hunter.The network also had the two biggest winners of the evening -- taking four awards each for its comedy series "The Larry Sanders Show" and its comedy special "HBO Comedy Hour: John Leguizamo's 'Spic-o-Rama.
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By David Zurawik and David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic | July 19, 1995
If this really is the so-called summer doldrums, how come the smartest and funniest sitcom on television starts a new season tonight?Because that sitcom, "The Larry Sanders Show," is on HBO, and the premium cable channel does not march to the networks' beat of starting new seasons in the fall. As long as HBO has products like tonight's episode of "The Larry Sanders Show" -- titled "Roseanne's Return" -- it can start its season any time it wants. The viewers will come.For those not familiar with the celebrated sitcom, which starts its fourth season, it stars Garry Shandling as late-night talk-show host Larry Sanders in a perfectly wicked spoof of talk shows, celebrity, television, show business and a culture that has become mesmerized by the visual images manufactured for our small screens.
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By Steve McKerrow and Steve McKerrow,Staff Writer | June 13, 1992
You don't have to be French to laugh at Jerry Lewis -- at least as he is seen with Dean Martin in a fascinating cable documentary this weekend that offers a time trip to one of the less-remembered lodes of the golden age of live television."
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